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Returning Overseas Students to Australia - Pilot programme announced today

by Sally L Watkins Friday September 24th 2021

Returning Overseas Students to Australia - Pilot programme announced today-student-coiv-nsw-01

NSW Health and NSW Police have approved a 14-day quarantine in a building modified to hold up to 650 pupils. All participating students will be required to be fully vaccinated with a TGA-recognised COVID-19 vaccine

Study NSW has provided a communications toolkit for the NSW International Student Arrivals Pilot Plan, with practical and tailored information to help you - click here

The initiative is critical to the state's economic recovery, as it creates jobs and restores growth.

NSW Minister Stuart Ayres said NSW was Australia's top destination for international student return. By the end of this year, the first phase of the pilot plan is expected to return 500 overseas students to NSW on chartered aircraft.

The Commonwealth Government has approved a pilot programme to see fully vaccinated international students return to NSW in stages, with the first flight arriving by the end of this year.

Returning students will be required to complete a 14-day quarantine in a building modified to hold up to 650 pupils and authorised by NSW Health and NSW Police to COVIDSafe requirements.

According to Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional New South Wales, Industry and Trade John Barilaro, the staggered homecoming of students is stage one of a trial that will gradually expand due to the rise in vaccination rates in NSW and internationally.

Mr Barilaro stated in a press conference his morning that thousands of jobs are supported by the education sector in NSW and was happy that NSW is leading the way with the return of overseas students to our shores.

"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." said Mr Barilaro.

According to Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, the initiative is critical to the state's economic recovery, as it creates jobs and restores 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."

The industry-funded pilot plan has attracted education partners such as Australian Catholic University, Macquarie University, The University of Newcastle, The University of Sydney, UNSW, UTS, University of Wollongong, and Western Sydney University, as well as independent providers such as the International College of Management Sydney, Kaplan, Navitas, RedHill, and Study Group.

Stuart Ayres, Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism, and Western Sydney, said NSW was Australia's top destination for international students. "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," Mr Ayres said.

By the end of this year, the first phase of the pilot plan is expected to return 500 overseas students to NSW on chartered aircraft paid for by the students.

The announcement was warmly received by the higher education sector, with Governor of the NSW Vice-Chancellors' Committee, Professor Barney Glover AO, praising 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.

"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," Belle Lim, President of Council of International Students Australia.

The announcement was warmly received by the higher education sector, with Governor of the NSW Vice-Chancellors' Committee, Professor Barney Glover AO, praising the NSW Government.