Visa Crunch

Mark McGowan Made U-Turn On The State’s Border Restrictions; Students Must Arrive In Western Australia By Feb. 5

Here’s some unwelcome Western Australia news for international students. Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan has made another U-turn on the state’s border restrictions.

The Western Australia government has informed education providers that only students who arrive in Australia before 12.01 am this February 5, 2022, will be allowed to enter the state, reported the Daily Mail today.

The new rule also only applies to returning students who are already partway through their course and not those who are planning to start a course in 2022, said the portal.

International students cannot fly into Perth directly, and must transit via other states.

Returning students who arrive by the February 5, 2022 deadline must be fully vaccinated, self-isolate for 14 days in suitable premises within 200 km of their entry point into the state and get tested on the first and 12th day of the quarantine, said the daily.

On Jan. 20, 2022, McGowan announced that international students wouldn’t be able to return due to rising Omicron cases. In a Facebook post, he said: “Allowing hundreds or thousands of Omicron infected people to fly straight into Perth from February 5, 2022, with no testing, no quarantine and no public health measures, would cause a flood of COVID-19 across our state.”

However, in a document released on January 25, 2022, the state government said returning international students are allowed to come into Australia and cross into Western Australia from other states if they are fully vaccinated and agree to self-quarantine for 14 days.

International Education Association of Australia CEO Phil Honeywood told The Australian: “It appears that student welfare is being totally overlooked in the government’s determination not to get voters off-side.”

“How can you possibly explain yet another arbitrary entry date when students have booked and paid for flights, accommodation and first-semester tuition fees?”

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