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Scott Morrison Allows International Students To Return To Australia

The Australian Government has confirmed it will consider allowing international students from Australia's travel ban in early July.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared a national three-stage framework of coronavirus curbs to open the door for overseas-based students to return to Australian universities.

Scott Morrison allows International Students To Return To Australia
Scott Morrison allows International Students To Return To Australia

Although the details surrounding the exemption are not yet clear, Mr. Morrison said that would only be done if strict quarantine restrictions were met.

"The problem of international students, you will notice that it goes into the third step of the plan, it is a possibility," he said.

"We are open to that, and we will work with the institutions to see how that can be achieved.

"But it has to be done in accordance with strict quarantine restrictions and how to do it, and how those costs are met."

At least 10 per cent of international students enrolled in Australian institutions are trapped abroad in a $ 40 billion a year industry to the economy.

Australian universities are expected to record heavy losses as a result of forced campus closures and border restrictions.

The international education lobby has pushed for the exemption of travel restrictions for international students.

"Obviously without any international students coming to the country, Australia's fourth largest industry is in deep crisis," said Australian International Education Association CEO Phil Honeywood.

The chair of the National Coordination Commission for COVID-19 Nev Power stressed the importance of rebooting education as quickly as possible and suggested the possibility of university-funded charter flights to bring foreign students back to Australia.

"There is an opportunity for universities to work with the government to provide a safe process ... speed up the visa, get international students back here as quickly as possible," Power told the Australian Financial Review.

"We need to include quarantine provisions. We need to make sure that UNIS is reconfigured to implement safe practices. But then we can speed it up because now, this school year, you can get it back."

However, the uncertainties faced by international students have led many to consider whether it is appropriate to continue on to the next semester in Australia.

Belle Lim from the Australian International Student Council said some students choose to postpone their studies.

"Next semester will start soon, some of them have received conditional offers but they don't know what to accept," he said.

"They don't know if they can return to Australia in time."

The highest body for Australian universities insists that the rush to return to face-to-face teaching must meet strict medical guidelines.

"The health of our students and staff is always number one priority," said Universities Australia CEO Catriona Jackson.

"None of this happens if we don't get permission to do it from the health authorities."

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