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NSW Drops Travel Plans for Int’l Students Until Lockdown Ends

NSW Drops Travel Plans for Int’l Students Until Lockdown Ends

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Key Takeaways:

  • New South Wales (NSW) had set aside plans to allow international students to fly in while the state is still in lockdown.
  • The pilot program has been pushed back as an extra health measure for students.

New South Wales (NSW) had set aside plans to allow international students to fly in while the state is still in lockdown due to the pandemic, Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed.

With 97 new recorded COVID-19 cases in NSW, Berejiklian announced that the pilot program, which aims to rejuvenate the state’s struggling education sector, will not proceed until the lockdown has been lifted.

Currently, the state government has not set an end to the lockdown, which will affect the launch of the pilot program. This also means further delay in the student intake for the first semester in 2022.

Berejiklian also added that the cancellation of plans to permit students from flying in was due to the government efforts to not compromise students’ health over their education.

The international education market contributes $14 billion annually to NSW’s economy, with each international student spending $60,000 on average. However, many universities in the state have been adversely affected by the stringent pandemic protocols, including some restrictions on face-to-face learning.

In addition, the highly infectious COVID-19 strain, Delta, has pushed back prior plans of the education sector and the government to assure the safe return of international students. 

According to NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, 250 international students were supposed to arrive using charter flights every two weeks starting sometime this July, and the number would be doubled by the end of the year.

The federal government’s four-stage recovery plan also poses challenges to the return of international students. Although phase one allows for the limited entry of economic and student visa holders, later phases would set a cap on the number of students entering Australia.

Nonetheless, NSW Vice-Chancellors’ Committee convenor Prof. Barney Glover said that the pilot program’s cancellation is a “sensible response” to the current situation in the state.

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