International students returning to Australia woke up in rude shock on Monday when Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Australia would be delay reopening from its borders from December 1 to 15 due to concerns about the Omicron COVID-19 strain. So, would this pilot project derail to facilitate the return of students to the country?
New South Wales had previously announced it would facilitate the return of some 500 international students in the state in December as part of the NSW International Student Arrivals Pilot Plan. According to Study NSW, the two existing flights scheduled to land in Sydney on December 6 and 24 are continuing.
âThese flights are part of a separate travel exemption process, under the NSW International Student Arrivals Pilot Plan and aligned with Australian government protocols and prerequisites for international student arrivals,â he said. it stated on its website.
International students returning to Australia under the NSW pilot plan: what we know
Study NSW notes that international students booked to return on flights under the NSW International Student Arrival Pilot Plan will still travel to NSW on their scheduled flights. They add that existing flights provide a safe return route to NSW as the international travel situation remains fluid and space on commercial flights may remain limited.
The first chartered plane will land in Sydney on December 6 and carry more than 250 students from more than 15 countries, including Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea, China and Canada. A second flight carrying students from South Asia is due to arrive in Sydney on December 24.
International students returning to Australia must be fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccination approved or recognized by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) before landing in Sydney.
The NSW study notes that as of December 15, fully immunized eligible visa holders can travel to Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption. “The NSW government will not require international students to self-quarantine upon arrival,” he said, adding that this aligns with quarantine requirements for returning Australians .
âWhen preparing to travel you need to check what to do when leaving Australia or arriving in Australia from overseas. International students returning under the NSW International Student Arrivals Pilot Plan will always travel to Sydney on their scheduled flights, âhe said.
International students returning to Australia under the Victoria pilot plan
Study Melbourne notes on its website that once the Australian government confirms that the borders are open for international student visa holders, eligible and fully immunized international student visa holders will no longer need to be part of the arrival plan for international students to enter Victoria.
âHowever, students selected by their university for participate in the plan are encouraged to keep in touch with their universities to finalize travel arrangements, âthey said. International students can make their own arrangements to return to Melbourne instead of returning under the plan, provided the Australian government does not extend the suspended reopening to international students.
International students returning to Australia via South Australia
The Adelaide study notes that South Australia will welcome fully vaccinated international arrivals – including international students – without a quarantine period once 90% of South Australians (aged 12 and over) are fully vaccinated. The 90% target is expected to be reached by the end of December 2021 or the beginning of January 2022.
International students are expected to return to South Australia from December 15. Those who have already been granted a travel exemption can still travel to Adelaide by December 15.
International students returning to Australia via Western Australia
The Perth study notes that Western Australia’s borders will be open to all fully vaccinated national and international arrivals without the need to quarantine once 90% of Western Australians (aged 12 and over ) will be fully vaccinated. This is expected to happen in late January or early February 2022.
“We are constantly seeking clarification and updates and will share further information as it becomes available,” they said.