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The possible reopening of borders for international students to return to Australia

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that the federal government is considering a travel exemption to allow international students to return to the country starting in July 2020.

For July, Morrison wants Australia to start Stage Three, which will allow most people to return to offices, pubs and nightclubs, as well as having meetings of up to 100 people and full interstate travel.

During this stage, international travel to New Zealand and the Pacific Islands will also be allowed, along with some exemptions for international students.

While no specific details have been given about the exemption, Morrison said this can only be done if the restrictions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are met.

Morrison said: «International student matters come into the third step of the plan, that's a possibility.»

Likewise, the president of the National Coordination Commission COVID-19, Nev Power, spoke about the importance of restarting education as quickly as possible and suggested the possibility of university-funded charter flights to bring international students to Australia.

«There is an opportunity for universities to work with the government by providing safe processes, streamlining the visa issue and bringing those international students back to Australia as quickly as possible,» Nev Power told the Australian Financial Review.

The maximum body for Australian universities insists that any rush to return to face-to-face education must comply with strict health measures.

Why should Australia's borders be reopened for international students to return?

International students contribute $40 billion AUD a year to the Australian economy.

Executive Director of the Australian International Association for Education Phil Honeywood told SBS News: «International education is Australia's fourth-largest export industry generating nearly 240,000 Australian jobs and is a key source of income for public universities and many other providers of private education.»

Reopening Australian borders to international students could give the country an edge in the international education market against Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom for future enrolment abroad.

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Source: SBS (2020). Australia Recovered from:

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