Indian students
The second flight would bring international students travelling to NSW from South Asia and India. Source: Saeed Khan/AFP

New South Wales has announced a pilot plan that would see some 500 international students in NSW return in December. According to SBS Punjabi, the NSW government has confirmed that the first batch of Indian students will land in Sydney on December 24.

Indian students could return towards the end of December

Previously, the NSW government announced that students fully vaccinated with a TGA-recognised vaccine would be able to return to NSW without quarantining from December.

Current TGA-approved vaccines include Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac and Covishield.

The first chartered plane of returning international students under the NSW International Student Arrivals Pilot Plan is scheduled to land in Sydney on December 6. The first flight will carry some 250 students from over 15 nations, including Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea, China and Canada.

Indian students

A small batch of Indian students will return to New South Wales towards the end of December. Source: Sonny Tumbelaka/AFP

The second flight would bring international students travelling to NSW from South Asia and India. An Investment NSW spokesperson told the portal that the second flight would bring back students from India and other South Asian countries.

“It is not possible to confirm the exact numbers of students on individual flights as COVID-19, tests, carried out pre-departure, may impact that number and the returning university locations,” the spokesperson was quoted saying.

Universities and independent higher education providers will determine which students will return, prioritising existing students. “Students will return to their studies via flights to NSW every two weeks from December 2021 until further notice through the pilot plan’s phased approach,” said the spokesperson.

The NSW government said it is working with the Australian government to scale its return plan.

A downward trend

IDP Connect client director Andrew Wharton previously told Study International that during the pandemic, key destination markets have seen a decline in demand from international students. While other markets such as Canada, the UK and the US bounced back quickly, Australia continued to decline.

Deteriorating interest to study in Australia was apparent in certain markets, including India. Two years ago, Australia took a 20% share of demand from that market. Today, that figure has plunged to 9%, said Wharton, adding that a key motivation for Indian students’ decision to study abroad includes migration and face-to-face learning opportunities.