Wednesday, July 6, 2022

NSW prepares pilot plan for safe return of international students

A pilot plan that will see the phased return of fully vaccinated international students to
NSW has been given the green light by the Commonwealth Government, with the first
flight touching down by the end of this year.
Accommodation provider Scape has been confirmed to house the returning students
for a 14-day quarantine in Redfern, at a building retrofitted to accommodate up to 650
students to COVIDSafe standards approved by NSW Health and NSW Police.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional New South Wales, Industry and Trade John
Barilaro said the staggered return of students was stage one of a pilot that would
slowly expand and evolve, as vaccination rates continue to rise in NSW and
internationally.
“The international education sector sustains thousands of jobs across NSW, and I’m
proud that NSW is leading the way with the return of international students to our
shores,” Mr Barilaro said.
“The safety of the people of NSW is paramount and we are taking no risks. All
participating students will be required to be fully vaccinated with a TGA-recognised
COVID-19 vaccine, and strict quarantine protocols will be in place.
“Importantly, this plan will not come at the expense of any Australian citizen or resident
wishing to return home.”
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the program was vital to the State’s economic
recovery, creating jobs and restoring growth.
“International education plays an important role in connecting NSW to the world,” Mr
Perrottet said. “As we implement a range of efforts to reboot our economy, rebuilding
the sector – which was worth $14.6 billion to NSW in 2019 – is a key part of our efforts.”
Education partners including Australian Catholic University, Macquarie University, The
University of Newcastle, The University of Sydney, UNSW, UTS, University of
Wollongong and Western Sydney University, plus independent providers the
International College of Management Sydney, Kaplan, Navitas, RedHill and Study
Group, have signed up to the industry-funded pilot plan.
Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said, “More than 57,000 students are currently overseas, with many desperate to return, resume their studies, part-time jobs, connect with friends and continue their journey in our world-leading institutions.”
The first phase of the pilot plan is anticipated to bring back 500 international students
to NSW on chartered flights, paid for by the students, by the end of the year.
Scape CEO Anouk Darling said the company was proud to be involved in the pilot.
The announcement was welcomed by the higher education sector with Professor
Barney Glover AO, Governor of the NSW Vice-Chancellors’ Committee thanking the
NSW Government.
“After over 18 months of planning, we are delighted that both the Australian and NSW
Government are supportive of a pilot plan for an incremental reopening of our borders
to our international students,” Mr Glover said.
Council of International Students Australia President, Belle Lim, welcomed the
detailed planning and collaborative approach.
“We all want international students back on campus, enjoying the unique learning,
work and life experience that only studying in Australia can deliver. We support the
cautious approach and look forward to growing the number of students returning to
NSW over time,” Ms Lim said.

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