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Australia: Borders remain closed for international students

Australia’s borders will be remained closed for international students until 17 June. Quarantine facilities provided by the Government are reserved for Australian citizens returning home and international students will not be able to make use of these until at least the end of April. Recently, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that he would be open to the prospect of the education sector establishing private self-funded quarantine facilities for incoming students.

According to the enrolment data from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, international enrolments in Australian universities fell off by 5% and international commencements (international students enrolling in Australian education for the first time) fell by 22% in 2020. This decline in the number of international students starting their degrees is expected to have a vast impact on the general enrolments in 2021. Similarly, as travel bans emerged, thousands of Australian students have returned home from overseas institutions. The number of Australians studying abroad has significantly decreased during the last year. According to a report by the International Association of Australia, Australian universities may see up to 100,000 students unable to participate in a learning abroad experience in 2020 and 2021.

COVID-related financial relief funds will be allocated for the country’s tourism sector, and the international education sector is advocating for a similar support package. However, this financial relief package may only have to be provided for a short term, since Australians will be able to travel inside the country as more people get vaccinated. But universities will not be able to start their recovery until international students are allowed to enter the country again, and that is, at least, until 17 June.