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A plan for the return of international students to Victoria has been submitted to the Commonwealth for approval. Under the first stage of the plan, 120 students will be able to return each week.
The available spots are expected to prioritise students who need to undertake practical work to continue or complete their degree, such as PhD candidates and medical students. In the second stage, students will be able to return from across sectors, including secondary schools, TAFEs and English-language courses.
“Victorian universities have been working collaboratively with the Victorian Government on a plan to facilitate the return of international students to the state. We are pleased the plan has now been submitted to the Federal Government – we look forward to Minister Tudge reviewing and approving the plan as soon as possible,” said Professor Duncan Maskell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne.
There are around 47,000 international students enrolled with education providers in Victoria who have been overseas due to border closures. According to recent data released by the Australian Department of Education, Skills and Employment, there has been a 17 per cent decrease in enrolments at Australian universities since June 2020.
As part of under the Victorian Government’s Student Arrivals Plan, universities will provide funding for the quarantine of student visa holders while the students themselves are required to cover the cost of the flight.
Similar plans to bring back international students to South Australia and New South Wales have been previously approved, and Indian students at certain universities have already received expressions of interest forms for their return.
Recently, the Australian Government’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) also approved the Covishield (AstraZeneca/Serum Institute of India) vaccine, which is the Indian-made version of the AstraZeneca vaccine and the country’s primary vaccine, paving the way for fully vaccinated Indian students to return. There is no word yet on the vaccination status of students who have taken Covaxin, India’s indigenous vaccine.
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