Sign up

Have some pie!

Australia Covid-19 surge threatens plans for student return

Australian state of New South Wales recorded its highest Covid-19 case numbers on July 29, with the Greater Sydney region entering a month long lockdown until at least August 28.

Photo: Unsplash

Prime minister Scott Morrison has also indicated that Australia will have to vaccinate 80% of its adult population before it can consider reopening its borders

NSW has also put on hold its plan to allow international students back in to the country, after the state government announced a pilot plan for limited-phased return of international students in June.

However, the latest lockdown led pause in the rolling out of this pilot initiative, which might mean that the much anticipated arrival of international students in Australia gets pushed further down the line — not welcome news for thousands of students studying remotely, eagerly awaiting the opportunity to come to Australia to continue their studies.  

Chief executive officer of UNSW Global and pro vice-chancellor (International), UNSW Sydney, Laurie Pearcey, told The PIE,”UNSW continues to work closely with the state and federal governments on the safe return of international students to Australia.”

Australia has seen a drastic fall in the overall number of international students enrolled in its universities in 2021. At current rates, the country risks losing its competitiveness in the international education sector, as students start looking at alternative countries.

The country has incurred a loss of nearly $6 billion to its economy, as international student enrolments have gone down by more than 100,000, in the last financial year alone.

We’ll continue to work with states and territories on proposals to return international students when conditions allow”

While education exports fell by 21.4% in 2020, international student commencements for 2021 have gone down by nearly 20%, compared to 2020.

Australia’s minister for Education and Youth, Alan Tudge has said, “We’ll continue to work with states and territories on proposals to return international students when conditions allow.”

Tudge added that the government’s priority is to get the spread of the Delta variant under grips, and that it will be up to NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian to choose when to resume the pilot. Her government paused the plan on July 13.

The impact of this slump is not only eminent in the form of loss of revenue, but also in the form of staff redundancies across major Australian universities. One such was La Trobe in Melbourne which announced 200 redundancies following a $165 million fall in revenue.

Furthermore, the impact is already being felt by communities and local businesses, as international students form a major part of the workforce for local businesses across Australia.

Despite federal government’s assurances, Australia remains the slowest among OECD countries to administer Covid-19 vaccines to its adult population. As of now, less than 16% of the country’s population has been vaccinated and it may take another seven months before the current national goal for vaccinations is met.  

Prime minister Scott Morrison has also indicated that the country will have to vaccinate 80% of its adult population before it can consider reopening its border. Australian public policy think tank, the Grattan Institute has suggested this may only be possible by the year end.

It is also being argued that Australia needs to transform its approach to managing Covid-19 — that waiting for cases to come down to zero is no longer practical. The country should instead be proactive and take a cue from the strategies adopted by other forward-looking democratic countries, in adopting an approach of a cautious and phased opening up to the rest of the world.

A cautious and phased opening up of its borders to international students and other essential travellers, along with exploring a vaccine-visa regime, might be the options that Australia’s federal government may like to consider going forward.  

It can also consider moving on from a Fortress Australia mindset, once more of Australia’s population has been vaccinated. 

Related articles

Still looking? Find by category:

Add your comment

34 Responses to Australia Covid-19 surge threatens plans for student return

  1. This is a serious issue.. like I don’t think so the Australian government is thinking about the international students at all that’s why they are not knowing what all issues we are facing … It’s soo terrible and depressing one can’t imagine.

  2. Australian Govt shud now go ahead with the world.. Can’t closed boarders indefinetly with fear of spreading Covid-19, world now got remedies in terms of vaccination after many research, opening of Aus Boarder soon is in benifit of Auses as well as for all international students who had suffered a lot ,by choosing study in Australia.

  3. Closing the border to avoid covid has proved to be failed
    Gov should take the approach to live with d virus n vaccinate the people soonest possible
    Even a developing country has done better in vaccination their people

  4. Haha, these are their strategies, as they would just give hopes to international students that the borders would open and a huge sum of money might flow in to their economy. Actually, guys Australia just considers international students as milk cows,
    Please don’t look to Australia until 2025, they only give loose hopes.
    Only take admission when they open borders, otherwise u would all fall into despair which the current students from June 2020 are facing now.

  5. Corona not end all.we have to fight but lockdown not a solution.government must think.Australian economic also effected due to international student not allowed

  6. This is madness. We have paid so much money and Australia is clearly taking it for granted. I have friends travelling to the UK and Canada this month while I have to study online because I chose Australia. What a fool I was! If this continues am transferring to the UK next sem. Enough is enough, I want my money’s worth of education and experience

  7. We earnestly request aus govt to immidiate open the borders as other countries are allowing, only seek both vaccination and anegative covid test ,no quarantine is needed then,, this will add to popularity of the govt in forthcoming elections ,other wise they will find it hard to win as there is very negative effect on youngsters and economy .

  8. Australian government should cooperate with students as they are not only the one that are in loss but the offshore students as well. Student are struggling due to waste of time and delay in career as well as financials issue that are cause by uncertain lockdown due to covid 19.

  9. Australian government should cooperate with students as they are not only the one that are in loss but the offshore students as well. Student are struggling due to waste of time and delay in career as well as financials issue that are cause by uncertain lockdown due to covid 19.Not only Australia but everyone is in loss.

  10. seriously i dont feel the goverment even care about people like us each day is like a burden on us bcoz we are egerly waiting for opening of borders . each day i look forward into news channels to know latest update yet everthing is very disappointing overall.

  11. The Australian Government’s first responsibility is the health of Australia, and borders will not open until it is safe, probably in 12 months time. So don’t believe that unlimited travel will occur before then.
    Keeping the border closed has worked , the death rate from Covid 19 is less than 40 per million.
    Australians in general put lives ahead of economics

  12. why other countries are open for international students? Like canada they allow their student to enter and pursue their study even if there is Corona virus. Australia dont open their border to prevent corona virus but the number of infected still rising. We want our money back but the refund is just 50% percent 🙁

  13. I don’t think ausi is a viable student destination anymore. The government treated the students pretty bad during the pandemic. Basically they said pay or leave during a bloody global pandemic when their own countries were under lockdown. Mind you, these are the students who pays x5 the amount a local student would. These are the students who made education one of the biggest exports of the country. I think it’s time people realize that this is not a good investment for the future anymore..

  14. Closing the border to avoid covid has proved to be failed. We students are facing many problems like mentally & economically. nearly 1 & half years.. At least universities tuition fees must be reduced or wave off those who are in outside of Australia.
    This is serious issue. Australian gov. should go head with this situation & should open the boarders soon.

  15. Australia has proved that it does not consider students and temporary visa holders to be human. Only citizens and pr are human beings.
    While other countries talk about welfare and consideration for students and temporary visa holders, Australia has not for once have any consideration about such.
    I will definitely not continue my studies in Australia and suggest everyone to do the same. Please don’t study and visit Australia. If anyone has a ounce of self respect, Australia is not for anyone.

  16. Australia only likes money, they don’t care about students, they treat us like milk cows, Canada or UK have always been a much better option, they are multicultural countries with better opportunities.

  17. No Amit. We consider international students as humans who safe in their families’ homes. Stressed and working extra hard, but safe at home.

    However, we consider our parents’ lives more important than your immigration dreams.

    Life vs. $$$

  18. Australia will be awarded a platinum medal in 10 years for having the oldest people in the world and also will be in the genius book for having the most population with mental health issues. Be prepared your lock downs are not doing any good to these young ausies

  19. Closing the border to avoid covid has proved to be failed
    Gov should take the approach to live with d virus n vaccinate the people soonest possible
    Even a developing country has done better in vaccination their people

  20. They work, Manish. Our economy, employment and health systems are as strong as before COVID. We missed the destruction of the northern hemisphere.

    So, we wait until we have 70% vaccinated. This will be November or December, hopefully.

    Ironically, Sydney has tried to live with the virus. They are in a mess as a result.

  21. Australia should see how other countries succeed. My younger son landed in Hongkong for his university studies at HKUST today. They want negative PCR text and 14 days hotel quarantine depending on which country you’re coming from. Very good system.
    Unfortunately my elder son selected Ausie university and he is studying online paying the same amount. At least they should reduce the tuition fee

  22. This is too much. We’ve faced so many problems because of this border issues .we’ve been forced to take loans to pay the fees . It’s too annoying and unfair that universities are taking fees of on campus but we’re forced to study online. You have to give us more discount on our studies and yes Australian gov open the border otherwise return our full money.

  23. I think the discount and refund ideas are fair. I know some smaller universities are offering significant discounts for this semester already.

    Refunds are also given by most universities for unfinished semesters, but not completed semesters.

  24. I am a student choosing australia as a destination and my visa was granted on jan 21, 2021,isn’t the closure of international border the irresponsible step taken by australian government ?If visa was not given then me plus other many victims of the decision may have a bit clear future ,I am totally in dilemma what to do and what not to.Find our way fast!!😐️

  25. You know at the very least they should ease up on some the international student policies. Such as all international students being required to study full time. Give international students the option to study part time, other wise the students will not bother spending High amounts of money just for online learning.

  26. I think australia should think about all the international students because we are facing network issues during the online class. So, they should open the borders so that the students can start their face to face classes.

  27. it is Insane how Aus Gov doesn’t bother about the international students. I think refunding the money will be a better solution to calm the students at least they could think of.

  28. I haven’t met my 5 month old granddaughter and the Australian government have not mentioned anything at all about reuniting close families. They really do not care about the emotional and mental health of their own residents struggling with pregnancy and new babies and no family support. Absolutely disgusting lack of empathy and compassion for vulnerable mothers and babies in their care.
    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/593685?fbclid=IwAR2Sr8WXRBEb2KOSKxgaTTzI98vSAwA4yQcKoT6g5TyZtyX3p1zKPLgv5ac

  29. I haven’t met my 5 month old granddaughter and the Australian government have not mentioned anything at all about reuniting close families. They really do not care about the emotional and mental health of their own residents struggling with pregnancy and new babies and no family support. Absolutely disgusting lack of empathy and compassion for vulnerable mothers and babies in their care.

    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/593685?fbclid=IwAR2Sr8WXRBEb2KOSKxgaTTzI98vSAwA4yQcKoT6g5TyZtyX3p1zKPLgv5ac

  30. I think you are comparing mental health and physical illness. The mental health problems from these 1 or 2 years of hardship are huge, but they are nothing compared to killing people (not to mention destroying the health system and the economy).

    I am no fan of the government, but letting people in when the Delta variant is chewing through other countries (and now Sydney and Melbourne) would be crazy.

    We look at the destruction in India, the UK, Indonesia and the US and hope we never end up like them. Waiting another few months will be good for Australia, but also good for your future, if you decide to live here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Disclaimer: All user contributions posted on this site are those of the user ONLY and NOT those of The PIE Ltd or its associated trademarks, websites and services. The PIE Ltd does not necessarily endorse, support, sanction, encourage, verify or agree with any comments, opinions or statements or other content provided by users.
PIE Live

The PIE Live: Student Journey virtual conference 18-22 Oct
Exceptional learning and global networking opportunities
PIE one get one free offer until Fri 24 Sept!

Register now