Australia updates: Quarantine-free travel for Singaporean students, South Australia’s pilot plan

Latest news for Australia international students
The latest news for international students in Australia has been positive. Source: Roslan Rahman/AFP

What’s the latest news for international students in Australia? Here’s a quick update on Singapore and South Australia:

Latest news for international students in Australia: Singapore

Things are looking up for Singaporean students looking for the latest news for international students in Australia. Fully vaccinated Singaporean travellers can expect quarantine-free travel to New South Wales and Victoria from November 21, and this will also include students. In a press statement, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “The quarantine-free travel arrangements will commence on November 21 for Australian states and territories that are ready, and will be available for fully vaccinated Singaporeans travelling from Singapore who present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure.”

Morrison announced the agreement at the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Rome, following a meeting with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. He said the quarantine-free travel for Singaporeans travelling from Singapore marks a significant milestone in the country’s step by step approach to safely reopening to the world, as outlined in the National Plan.

In speaking about Australia’s quarantine-free travel agreement with Singapore, Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said on Facebook: “This is good news, especially for many of our Singaporean students enrolled in Australian universities in these states, who will now be able to resume their studies onshore.”

Singaporeans must depart from Singapore to be considered eligible, and there is no requirement to have spent 14 days in Singapore prior to travel. Non-Singaporeans leaving the city state must still quarantine on arrival in Australia, even if they have been on the island since before the COVID-19 outbreak, reported Times Higher Education.

Such individuals are likely to include non-Singaporean students enrolled at the four Australian university branch campuses in Singapore, or undertaking programmes from over a dozen other Australian universities via private partners, it said.

Latest news for international students in Australia

What’s the latest news for international students in Australia? Singaporean students can expect quarantine-free travel to Australia. Source: Sonny Tumbelaka/AFP

Latest news for international students in Australia: South Australia

A separate report by THE said South Australia will no longer require participants in its “international students arrival plan” to undergo a fortnight’s quarantine, as specified when the scheme received federal government approval in June.

The authorities are reportedly reconsidering the need to charter special flights for students, after the government flagged the complete opening of its borders to fully vaccinated international arrivals. “Things are moving faster than we thought,” said Study Adelaide chief executive Karyn Kent to THE. “That’s a great thing for the students who need to get back at the beginning of 2022.”

Under the state government’s COVID-Ready Plan, borders will reopen to fully vaccinated people from all Australian states and territories from November 23. Quarantine will apply to LGAs (local government areas) with community transmission and less than 80% of the population fully vaccinated. They add that vaccinated international arrivals require seven days quarantine while unvaccinated authorised arrivals require 14 days quarantine.

Latest news for international students in Australia

Morrison recently announced quarantine-free travel for fully vaccinated Singaporeans to Australia. Source: William West/AFP

It was previously announced that under South Australia’s pilot plan, international students would quarantine at facilities in Parafield Airport, with the first students expected to arrive in August. Planned flights were reportedly shelved over ancillary costs that could go as high as 12,000 Australian dollars per person.

Most recently, students were expected to begin arriving in the first week of December. Kent said with the timing of flights now “closely aligned” with the relaxing of border restrictions, it made no sense to persist with quarantine. Her team, universities and private colleges were “still working through” whether commercial services to Adelaide would have sufficient capacity to accommodate students’ needs, or special flights would still be needed to ferry them, said THE.

“We’re working together as a sector to help the students navigate all the information,” she added. “There are still some varying quarantine requirements around Australia and certain dates that things will change.” While foreign students currently require travel exemptions to enter Australia, Kent said she hoped this would change before South Australia reached the 90% vaccination milestone.