NSW’s state government plans to welcome back international students safely under a long-awaited under their pilot proposal plan. NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet announced the proposal last Thursday. The plan will initially bring 250 students per fortnight to Sydney. The arriving students will spend their quarantine period in purpose-built student accommodation.
According to Mr. Perrottet, the plan will be evaluated after two months with a view to scaling up to bring up to 500 international students per fortnight by the year-end. NSW plans to prioritize international students studying medical degrees and those close to concluding their medical degree to return to NSW universities.
NSW Health and NSW Police have approved the pilot program for returning the international students. Meanwhile, the proposal is in review for the Australian Federal Government to approve.
Supporting NSW economy
In 2021, New South Wales has already lost around one-third of its enrolment of international students. Before the border closure, the international education industry was directly supporting more than 95,000 full-time equivalent jobs across the state. If the state continues to lose its international students in 2021, that will be equivalent to a loss of around $5 billion to the NSW economy. And by the end of 2022, the state will lose as much as $11 billion.
The proposal is a significant initial step to safely return international students so they can continue their studies in the NSW universities. To date, Australia’s COVID-19 response has been impressive. International students returning to NSW can be more confident of their safety and a positive experience in Australia than anywhere else.