Australia Update: Pilot Scheme to See International Students Return to South Australia

The government of South Australia (SA) has decided to welcome back hundreds of international students next month. Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham confirmed this stand. The government plans to overlook the criticism from the Opposition and proceed with the execution of this pilot program.

To commence this national pilot plan, 300 students will be flown into Adelaide from Singapore. This will also be the first concrete step towards helping the $1.9 billion international education industry stand up again. These shortlisted students will be made to undergo a mandatory supervised quarantine for two weeks before they resume their studies. For this purpose, several media-hotel facilities in the state will be made available. It has been reported that the universities will bear the cost of this hotel-quarantine program.

To face the pandemic-induced economic disaster, the government of Australia has taken numerous steps in the past, including allowing students, who are unable to complete their studies within the timeframe of their original visa due to COVID-19, to lodge an additional application for free.

The SA government is determined to carry out this pilot program successfully, as this will be a critical step towards restarting the international education sector.

Is India on the list?

After China, India makes the next biggest source of overseas students for South Australia. However, the exact final numbers and the country of origin of students who will be included in this pilot program are yet to be finalized. Nevertheless, the government’s spokesperson has confirmed that the intention is to let the pilot program welcome students from a diverse range of countries.

India makes a crucial market for Australia’s international student market, but concerning the COVID-19 breakthrough, it is in a high-risk zone. India has reported the third-largest COVID-19 caseload in the world, after the US and Brazil. Thus, the fate of Indian students studying in the universities of SA largely rides on the success of the initial pilot plan.

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