By Yash Yadav
Since the country’s borders were reopened, Australian institutions have been accepting more international students to their campuses. More than 20 overseas students arrived in Canberra last week after a nearly two-year restriction on admittance.
The Australian National University and the University of Canberra welcomed a group of over 20 students, six from the University of Canberra, who arrived in Australia via a flight from China as part of a pilot programme between the Australian Capital Territory (ACR) and New South Wales (NSW).
“This international student return is something we have been working toward for a long time, so I would like to thank all our partners and those who made it happen,” UC Deputy Vice-Chancellor Geoff Crisp said.
International students contribute roughly $1 billion to the ACT economy each year, with each student spending $50,000 in the country and paying tuition fees.
Following the reopening of Australia’s borders, other universities across the country began to welcome international students. The University of New South Wales (UNSW) announced this month that the NSW pilot programme had welcomed 144 overseas students.
“Amazing to see more smiling faces returning to Sydney over the break. AirplaneParty popper We’ve now welcomed 144 international students across 3 flights via the NSW pilot program, plus many who have arrived directly. We can’t wait for even more of you to join us in Sydney across 2022,” the UNSW wrote in a Twitter post.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said that reopening borders will give hope to more than 130,000 international student visa holders following the decision to reopen borders to foreign students.
Last December 1, international students enrolled in Australian universities were scheduled to begin their in-person courses. The country, however, postponed students’ return for two weeks due to fears about the spread of the Omicron variant, leaving thousands of pupils frustrated over the decision.
On December 15, Australia agreed to open its doors to overseas students, requiring them to be vaccinated with one of the vaccinations authorised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) as well as following state and territory criteria.
However, there are still some overseas students who are unable to return to Australia due to issues in their universities or because of being vaccinated with vaccines that are not approved by the Department of Home Affairs.