As part of a new support package, Western Australia has allocated AUS$16 million to the state’s foreign education sector.
The assistance initiative comes after the state postponed the reopening of its borders due to the Omicron strain earlier in February. The Student Quarantine Support Program will receive $8 million as part of the package, which will go toward $2,000 compensation for quarantine-related fees for the state’s overseas students in Semester 1, 2022.
The Industry Support Program has been allocated $6 million to assist eligible small and medium-sized education providers impacted by international border closures. Businesses can apply for grants of $50,000 and $100,000. Universities in Western Australia would receive an additional $500 grant to provide support services to affected international students.
A total of $2 million has been set aside for this purpose. The border adjustments, which took effect at midnight on February 5, have had a significant impact on Western Australia’s international education sector, especially returning students.
Institutions cautioned that a hasty move to postpone the state’s border opening would result in additional job and revenue losses, despite neighbouring regions accepting international students.
According to one member of staff at one of Western Australia’s institutions, the decision has thrown the sector “into disarray.” StudyPerth has been working very closely with the administration and WA police to address the many queries that are received every day from international students who are enrolled to study in Perth this year but have not yet arrived in WA, said Colyer-Long.
The team has been working “around the clock” to assist students by providing welcome kit delivery services, daily virtual drop-in sessions, and free counselling support services.
“We’ve also been working with the team at Australian Hotels Association WA to secure special hotel deals for those students in self-quarantine,” she noted.
The government’s new investment is part of a $77 million Safe Transition Industry Support Package, which also includes initiatives to support the tourism and travel-related sectors.
“International students are vitally important to the social and cultural fabric of WA, the economy and international relationships with the countries from which students come, and we will continue to work with the WA government to welcome international students as soon as it is safe to do so,” Colyer-Long said.
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