The South Australian government is allegedly in the final phases of sorting out the logistics of a pilot programme that would bring 300 international students back to South Australia.
The exact timing for the launch of the programme remains uncertain as the state hasn’t yet given a timeline. However, South Australia’s 46th Premier Steven Marshall has indicated it could be before the Christmas period.
Drawing attention to the struggling Central Business Districts (CBDs) around the country, Marshall states that they are looking “pretty forlorn with no international travellers, no international students and many people working from home,”. One strategy to address these issues, according to the Premier is “up to 300 students being repatriated into South Australia before Christmas.”
The state government is now waiting for the federal government’s approval of the scheme.
Education Minister Dan Tehan has previously said that “it’s very hard to tell” when students will be able to start entering Australia. The Morrison government is understood to want to prioritise finding a solution to internal border bans and caps on international arrivals before giving consent to South Australia’s programme.
In the UK, some universities are already starting to help international students return to the country and commence their studies. Queen’s University in Northern Ireland has chartered a plane to China to bring 369 students back to Belfast. This increases the pressure on Australia to start doing the same soon.
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Students up and down the UK are preparing to return to university over the next few weeks. However, this year will be like no other with coronavirus restrictions meaning many institutions will be swapping lecture theatres for online classes this semester.