Australia’s Northern Territory set to welcome back int’l students

Northern Territory (NT) has become the first Australian region to welcome back international students since the country imposed strict border curbs in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic in March, the media reported on Tuesday.

As part of Australia’s first pilot program, at least 70 students will arrive in the region’s capital city of Darwin from Singapore later this month, the the Sydney-based Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) said in a news report.

The students will be required to quarantine for two weeks at a government facility in Howard Springs before returning to the Charles Darwin University campus (CDU).

In a statement, Andrew Everett, CDU Deputy Vice Chancellor Global Strategy and Advancement, said the students will be travelling on their own expense.

“International students contribute an estimated A$99 million into the NT economy each year and support almost 500 jobs. It is hoped that the success of the pilot will help contribute to the recovery of the NT economy,” the SBS news report quoted Everett as saying in the statement.

Until 2019, the international education industry was worth A$37.6 billion to the Australian economy.

Meanwhile, Phil Honeywood, the chief executive of the International Education Association of Australia, said: “Any announcement by state or territory government regarding bringing international students back into their state or territory is proof of life for our beleaguered industry and the more we can see these examples happening, the more momentum we can gather and prove to the wide Australian community that it is a very safe way of restarting this important industry for Australia’s future.”

In July 2019, at least 410 international students arrived in the NT in time for the second semester of study, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

In the same period this year, there were not even a single student due to the pandemic.

Before the health crisis, the NT government had announced that under an international education strategy, some 10,000 students would be able to come to the region by 2025.

Meanwhile, the government of South Australia was also continuing to work on the final details of a pilot plan bring back up to 300 international students into Adelaide from Singapore.

In a statement to SBS, a spokesperson for the state government said: “Any pilot program requires multiple approvals and the South Australian government continues to work closely with all relevant parties to ensure international students are welcomed back to the state in a safe and responsible way that meets SA Health’s strict requirements.

“StudyAdelaide will work with the universities to assist international students to book flights once the proposal is approved,”