The education of international students, an industry that is worth more than AU$40 billion per year, has received a major shot in the arm with the news that the government is considering facilitating the movement of foreign students into the country as soon as the third stage of the Covid-19 exit plan is implemented.
Responding to calls to follow the example set by Canada and other nations Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government would do everything in the power to ensure that the valuable education sector was not affected unnecessarily.
Speaking to the media Morrison said, “We’re open to everything, pretty much, to get the Australian economy back and firing again as much as possible. We’ve just got to step through it carefully.”
Expanding on plans for allowing foreign students to enter the country he told Thepienews.com, “The issues of international students, you’ll note that it does come into the third step of the plan; that is a possibility.
Government and institutions of learning working together
“We are open to that, and would be working with institutions to see how that could be achieved. How that’s done and how those costs are met… there’s a lot of steps to work through,” he said.
Morrison has faced calls from members of parliament including Julian Hill who have cited Canada as the model to follow with regard to relaxation of border controls for students. “If Canada can admit students, subject to strict quarantine and health checks, then we can too,” he said.
Meanwhile, in responding to the calls from Hill and others, Universities Australia CEO Catriona Jackson was circumspect, saying, “We are keen to welcome all our students, from home and abroad, back to face-to-face teaching, but when it is safe to do so.”