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Australia international travel ban: Dan Andrews’ plan for students to return in 2021


Dan Andrews has hatched out a plan to welcome back a crucial cohort of people who have been barred from flying into the country since March last year.

International students could return to Victoria as soon as the end of the year, under an Andrews government plan.

The Victorian government’s student arrivals plan, which was submitted to the commonwealth for approval, also provided a pipeline for continued arrivals throughout 2022.

It comes as the federal government announced it would scrap Australia’s ban on international travel next month as the country moved towards Phase C of its reopening plan, when the nation had 80 per cent of its population double vaccinated.

Students arriving under the plan will be in addition to Victoria’s existing international arrivals cap, meaning they would not displace returning Australians.

Under the first stage of the plan, 120 places would be available each week for Victorian university students, prioritising those who were studying degrees in health and medicine, as well as postgraduate research students.

Universities would provide funding towards the extra quarantine places for student visa holders, with students required to cover the cost of their flight to Melbourne.

Students would be quarantined in dedicated accommodation managed by Covid-19 Quarantine Victoria.

The second stage of the plan would enable more places with larger-scale international student arrivals from across the sector, including those enrolled in TAFEs, English-language courses, private education providers and secondary schools.

While more than 75,000 international students from 100 countries are studying in Victoria, another 47,000 more were enrolled with Victorian education providers but have remained offshore since Australia slammed its border shut in March last year.

University of Melbourne vice-chancellor Professor Duncan Maskell said he looked forward to welcoming international students back to Melbourne.

“Victorian universities have been working collaboratively with the Victorian government on a plan to facilitate the return of international students to the state,” he said.

“We are pleased the plan has now been submitted to the federal government – we look forward to (Education) Minister (Alan) Tudge reviewing and approving the plan as soon as possible.”

International education contributed a peak of $13.7bn to the state’s economy and supported about 79,000 Victorian jobs before the pandemic hit.

Originally published as Victorian government plan to welcome international students back by the end of 2021


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