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International students may return to South Australia as early as November

The Australian federal government has approved a pilot programme to bring back a small number of international students to South Australia. The plan was proposed by Adelaide University, the University of South Australia (UniSA) and Flinders University, and will see 300 international students fly into the state between Nov. 2020 and Jan. 2021, reported Xinhua.

International students will be subjected to a mandatory 14-day quarantine period upon arrival before joining classes. “The programme will operate as a ‘proof of concept’ demonstrating that we can safely manage the return of international students to study in South Australia, when borders open in future,” said UniSA vice-chancellor (VC) David Lloyd to News Corp Australia via Xinhua.

Adelaide University will be able to bring a maximum of 160 students under the scheme, while the number is 90 and 45 for UniSA and Flinders University respectively. However, Australian citizens wishing to return to the country will be prioritised for flights. “The pilot programme represents an important step in welcoming international students back to campus, and its success is crucial in being able to bring more of our international students to Australia when borders reopen,” Flinders VC Sebastian Raneskold was quoted saying.


International students in the South Australia pilot programme will be the second group to enter Australia since it closed its borders in March due to COVID-19. Charles Darwin University (CDU) will be the first university in the country to pilot a programme to bring international students back to Australia. 

The pilot scheme was approved by the Australian and Northern Territory governments and will see up to 70 international students arrive in Darwin from Singapore in late October in time for the next intake on Nov. 9, 2020. This will also make the Northern Territory the first jurisdiction in the country to welcome back international students.

The South Australia pilot programme was announced in Aug. 2020 but had previously been pushed back due to concerns about international arrivals. International students reportedly generate over two billion Australian dollars per year for the South Australian economy. 

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