The state’s government has now said that returning students will not be required to quarantine if they are fully inoculated with a TGA-recognised vaccine, subject to Commonwealth approval.
The TGA considers both the Sinovac and Covishield as recognised vaccines, along with Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Janssen and Moderna.
The announcement aligns with quarantine requirements for returning Australians, the NSW government said.
Accommodation provider, Scape Redfern – which was slated to provide a Covid-safe building for 14-day quarantine for returning students under original plans announced in September – will continue to serve as the accommodation partner supporting the return plan, it added.
The flight carrying some 250 students in early December will include students from over 15 nations, including Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea, China and Canada. A second flight with students from South Asia and India is also planned.
Chief executive officer of International Education Association of Australia, Phil Honeywood, has urged other states to follow suit.
With two in five (38%) international students in Australia opting to study in NSW, the state’s premier Dominic Perrottet said he could not “wait to welcome back such an important part of our community”.
Almost 290,000 students studied in NSW before the pandemic, while as of November 8, 2021, more than 55,000 were outside of Australia unable to return to the state.
“They don’t just make a significant contribution to our economy, but international students play a role in our culture and contribute to our community and lifestyle,” Perrottet said.
“This sends a clear message about how much NSW values our international students”
However, students will still require Commonwealth government approval to travel to Australia, minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney and minister for Trade and Industry Stuart Ayres said.
“I welcome continued collaboration with the Commonwealth government in supporting international students as they return to NSW,” he said.
“This sends a clear message about how much NSW values our international students.”