SYDNEY, 10 June 2021:
From the second semester of this year, foreign students will return to universities in Australia’s state of New South Wales, thanks to a pilot programme authorities presented today to reactivate this important economic sector.
Educational services to foreigners were one of Australia’s export stars until the Covid-19 pandemic forced the government to close borders in March 2020, which has had a strong impact on direct and indirect jobs related to the sector.
Although Australia’s opening is not planned until June 2022, the New South Wales government – which receives more than 30% of foreign students entering the country, seeks to implement a plan to allow the entry of staggered student groups on a regular basis.
New South Wales treasury minister Dominic Perrottet, said in a statement that under this plan, student accommodation centres will allow about 250 foreigners to enter the region every 15 days for educational purposes following mandatory quarantines.
“Before the pandemic, we had more than 250,000 foreign students in New South Wales, creating about 95,000 local jobs. If we do not act quickly, students will go to other destinations and this would take several decades for the sector to recover.”
The New South Wales government, which in 2019 received about A$11.3 million dollars from the export of its educational services, said the pilot plan will not affect the weekly reception in quarantine hotels of 3,000 Australians and residents from abroad.
The return of foreign students who were stranded outside Australia has been one of the great concerns of the universities in the country.
Among proposed pilot plans, the majority derailed by outbreaks of Covid-19, only the one in the Northern Territory has been able to succeed, which welcomes only 0.4% of students from abroad.
Australia has accumulated more than 30,200 cases of Covid-19, including 910 deaths, since the beginning of the pandemic and for months it has been living a normal practice that is only disturbed by brief and localised confinements in response to small outbreaks of the virus.