Victoria will join NSW in allowing fully vaccinated international students to move directly into the community without having to quarantine.
The first planeload of students is expected to arrive next month in a long-awaited step to rekindling the state’s $13.7 billion education industry after students and other temporary visa holders were told to go home by Prime Minister Scott Morrison as the coronavirus pandemic took off early last year.
Almost 49,000 international students enrolled in Victoria remain offshore because of border restrictions.Credit:Wayne Taylor
The announcement from Victorian Trade Minister Martin Pakula on Friday cleared up confusion about the status of returning foreign students and put other states that are intending to quarantine students under more pressure to follow suit.
NSW announced last week that the first chartered plane of 250 fully vaccinated returning students would touch down in Sydney on December 6. Those students will not be required to quarantine.
In Victoria, despite open borders for double-dosed international arrivals, the government’s coronavirus website told foreign students they would be required to quarantine in dedicated state-managed accommodation.
After the NSW move, the frequently asked questions section on the Victorian website changed to reflect the government was seeking clarity from the Commonwealth.
The question was later removed entirely.
On Friday, Mr Pakula said the student arrivals plan, endorsed by the Commonwealth last month, had now been updated to allow international students the same freedoms as other fully vaccinated overseas arrivals.
“The amazing vaccination effort of Victorians means fully vaccinated international arrivals, including students enrolled at our universities and colleges, will not have to serve a period of hotel quarantine,” he said.
“International students add to the cultural richness and diversity of our state. They are valuable members of our community and we look forward to welcoming them back soon.”
Almost 50,000 international students enrolled with Victorian education providers remained offshore because of border restrictions.
Priority will go to students who need to return to Victoria for research, health and medical studies.
All international arrivals will first need to demonstrate to the federal government they are double-dosed with vaccines recognised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
The Queensland government on Friday said there was no change to its plan to quarantine international students in its go-it-alone quarantine facility outside Toowoomba, despite the moves from Victoria and NSW, its biggest competitors.
Students or their universities would be required to cover the costs of their stays.
“We can’t be left behind in this … this is a state of origin that I want us to win,” chair of the Queensland vice-chancellors committee Sandra Harding said.
The Morning Edition newsletter is our guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up here.
Most Viewed in National
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article