Some more good news is on the way for international students who want to come back to Queensland in Australia.
Quarantining of fully vaccinated international students in Queensland will be unnecessary once the Sunshine State meets its 90 per cent vaccination target, according to a minister.
According to Stirling Hinchliffe of Study Queensland, a state government organization, fully vaccinated international students would be able to travel to Queensland quarantine-free if the state meets its 90 per cent vaccination goal.
“As you know, the environment in which we consider the return of students is complex and rapidly evolving, but I can assure you that the Queensland government is doing everything we can to see international students back in Queensland,” the tourism minister was quoted saying.
“Once 90% of Queensland’s eligible population is fully vaccinated as per the Queensland’s Covid-19 Vaccine Plan to Unite Families there will be no requirement for international students arriving in Queensland from overseas to quarantine – the current advice is this vaccination rate will be achieved in early January.”
States including New South Wales (NSW), Victoria, and Western Australia have already said that fully vaccinated international students will not be required to quarantine if they satisfy the conditions. Quarantine rules for incoming international students have been eliminated in both New South Wales and Victoria.
As a result of this decision, Queensland will join states like New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria in eliminating compulsory quarantine for international students. On November 22, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that fully vaccinated overseas students will be allowed to return to Australia without a visa starting in December.
Because each state has its own set of rules and criteria for arriving travellers, industry experts are warning that Queensland’s mandated quarantining will prevent students from pursuing studies and travelling there.
Formerly, the Sunshine State mandated overseas students to spend two weeks in an isolated quarantine facility, which increased the cost of travel to Queensland when compared to jurisdictions that do not need quarantine.
According to ABC News, Griffith University Vice-President (Global), Sarah Todd had earlier urged the Queensland government to set a timeframe for the end of compulsory Covid quarantine for fully vaccinated foreign students.
Todd was concerned that Queensland would divert students to interstate universities, given that NSW and Victoria had already removed quarantine for fully vaccinated visitors. “If we could say to students now, ‘Yes, you will definitely be able to arrive in Queensland on this date and quarantine will not be required’. That would be great,” she was quoted saying. “Obviously, we’re very conscious of the health implications. But we’re also very aware of the value of international students to Queensland and the need to be as welcoming as other states.”
She also voiced concern that, even if the state relaxed its quarantine regulations, getting to Queensland would take time due to the limited number of plane seats available.
Each year, the foreign education sector contributes over $6 billion to the Queensland economy. According to the Brisbane Times, Sandra Harding, Chair of the Queensland Vice-Chancellors Committee, is concerned that obligatory quarantine will prevent students from studying and travelling in Queensland. “We have to think what that means for Queensland students and institutions, and for the economy overall, quite frankly,” she said.