Visa Crunch

Western Australia Will Fully Reopen Borders For International Students From March 3

Up to 6,000 fully vaccinated overseas students are anticipated to return to Western Australia in the coming weeks, according to a new pathway proposed by the state government, while the state’s border will reopen completely on March 3.

Since national borders reopened this week, the country as a whole has seen a total of 80,000 returning students. As a consequence of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, Western Australia earlier postponed a plan to open borders on February 5.

The proposed program enables international students who are currently enrolled or about to commence their education in primary and secondary schools, universities, colleges, technical colleges, as well as other higher education courses to enter the state.

On February 15, the first group of students had arrived. Prior to this, approximately 900 international students have entered the state since January 20. Incoming students will be liable to the same quarantine rules as other permitted travellers and will have the choice of relocating to state-run hotels, approved hotel accommodation, on-campus housing, or other premises approved by WA Police or WA Health.

“This new pathway is part of our ongoing review of border controls taking place this month, based on the latest health advice,” WA Premier Mark McGowan said.

As per the administration, fresh health advice suggests that the international student cohort poses a low risk to the community of the state.

“The relatively small size of the international student cohort and the strong support universities provide allow us to have confidence in quarantine arrangements, meaning the risk to the community is low,” McGowan added.

The updated move is another great step toward reintroducing international students to Perth, which is StudyPerth’s primary goal, according to a statement from the organization. Western Australia invested AUS$16 million to help the state’s foreign education sector earlier this month as part of a new support package.

There was $8 million for a Student Quarantine Support Program, $6 million for grants to small and medium-sized education institutions, and $2 million for a University Services for Students Support Program. To return under the proposal, students must be triple or double dose vaccinated, show documentation of a negative Rapid Antigen Test within 24 hours of leaving and be quarantined for seven days.

According to Universities Australia, approximately 80,000 overseas students have returned to Australia since borders were opened, with 13,500 students arriving in the country just last week. Overseas Education Minister David Templeman of Western Australia emphasized that international students “bring much to our community and our everlasting links with countries throughout the world from which students come.”

“I am very pleased that we have been able to safely enable international students to enter the state under these updated settings to support the flourishing international education sector and the many jobs and livelihoods it supports,” he said.

Anybody who has gone across campus this week has sensed the excitement rising as students and faculty are reunited after what has been a long period of separation for many.

Approximately 7,000 students returned to the country in the week of January 24. Universities Australia said that the over 13,500 students who arrived in the previous week represented a 33 per cent increase over the previous week.

A large number of incoming students is a significant achievement that should be recognized.

“We know there are students still to return, and we, as well as their domestic peers, stand ready to welcome them back,” Jackson noted.

However, the sector faces a significant road to recovery and universities know “they’re not out of the woods”, she warned, adding that they are confronting revenue hits and job losses.

“There is rebuilding ahead and we continue to work with our communities to do that in the national interest,” she said. “In the meantime, however, we are glad to see a return to the vibrant, hard-working campuses that sit at the centre of the communities we serve.”

Legal Disclaimer: This article is provided for information purposes only.

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