Why is the NSW International Student Arrivals Pilot Plan so important?
1. Returning international students to NSW
Two in five (38 per cent) of Australia’s international students choose to study in our State.
At 13 September 2021, there were more than 57,289 enrolled students outside of Australia who are unable to travel to New South Wales to study.
Our State has missed the many positive contributions international students make to the communities where they study, live and work.
For continuing students already in New South Wales, universities and other education providers have adapted to support students to have a full and rewarding co-curricular experience.
2. A return led by NSW Government
Education providers and members of the international education community are working with the NSW Government to ensure that international students who remain abroad can get back to our State as soon as possible.
This collective effort – the NSW International Student Arrivals Pilot Plan – will be funded by industry, with the governance and operational support of NSW Government and its agencies and the endorsement of the Australian Government.
NSW will prioritise the return of continuing higher education students from universities and large independent providers, with other sectors and providers to follow as soon as possible. A successful, scaled return will lead to an expanded pilot plan to welcome more students from a range of institutions returning to NSW.
Returning students will be approached by their respective institutions based on a set of criteria and their individual situations.
3. Australians still get home first
International students will quarantine in purpose-built student accommodation in Sydney and adhere to health and quarantine requirements set by the Australian health authorities.
This industry-funded quarantine model also means that international students will not be prioritised ahead of Australians returning or wanting to return home.
NSW will continue to support as many returning Australian citizens and residents as possible, based on the State’s weekly cap on arrivals and the capacity of our health and quarantine systems.
International student arrivals will be separate to the weekly caps, and all costs associated with travel and quarantine will be borne by the education providers and returning students.
4. Australia’s safety is an asset
This pathway has been designed with the safety of the NSW community and the students themselves top of mind. At the same time, we can give students and their families confidence that their experience in NSW will be positive and life changing.
In the uncertainty of these times, Australia’s focus on minimising the risks of COVID-19 means international students can be more confident of their experience here than just about anywhere else in the world.
With a demonstrated and ongoing commitment to community safety and liveability, NSW will continue to offer international students the opportunity to learn in one of the world’s best countries for students, acquire internationally recognised qualifications and launch their career in Australia or anywhere in the world. This is why 16 per cent of international students choose to call Australia home after they graduate.
We support the return of international students to New South Wales. It is the right thing to do.
5. Supporting the NSW economy
The economic impact of international students not being onshore continues to worsen – and it will take years to rebuild if we cannot support the safe return of international students.
New South Wales has already lost more than one third of its international student community between the start of the pandemic and September 2021. Some have gone to other countries with fewer border restrictions, and some have chosen to stay in their home country.
Before the pandemic, international education was estimated to directly support more than 95,000 full-time equivalent jobs across the State’s economy, in education, hospitality, tourism and other services.
Losing international students in 2021 means $5 billion lost to the NSW economy, which could be as much as $11 billion in total by the end of 2022.
The return of international students in 2021 will help support a sustainable education sector and our economy for the future