The state government has today unveiled its proposal to welcome back international students by the end of the year, a plan Deakin University's vice-chancellor says is both safe and a strong signal Victoria is ready to re-open.
Under the Victorian Government's Student Arrivals Plan, which has been submitted to the Commonwealth for approval, a staged return to study for international students would begin by the end of the year with a pipeline created for continued arrivals through 2022.
In its first stage, 120 places would be available each week for Victorian university students, prioritising those who are undertaking practical work to continue or complete their degrees, including health and medical students as well as postgraduate research students.
Student arrivals would be in addition to Victoria's existing international arrivals cap to ensure they would not displace returning Australians.
Universities would be expected to help fund extra quarantine places for student visa holders, but students would be required to cover the cost of their flight to Melbourne. Quarantine would be held in designated accommodation managed by COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria.
The second stage proposes larger-scale international student arrivals from a variety of study areas, including those enrolled in TAFEs, english-language courses, private education providers and secondary schools.
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Deakin vice-chancellor Iain Martin said the staged approach was a safe and strong signal Victoria was ready to reopen to the rest of the world.
"Deakin's international students are a valued part of our community and have made immeasurable contributions to the University. This is something we have never taken for granted," he said.
"Throughout the pandemic, Deakin has supported our international students who have been impacted by the rapid closure of borders and other changes, across the world.
"Deakin strongly supports the state government's proposal to welcome international students back to Victoria because it is essential to show the rest of the world that Victoria, and Australia, are once again open.
"Australia has very successfully minimised illness and death from COVID-19, but many of our international partners do not understand the path we have taken. So this proposal is a crucial signal to our partners and global communities that we are opening up, which is incredibly important.
"Deakin stands ready to welcome and support returning international students. In the meantime, we will continue to do everything we can to ensure their safety and wellbeing."
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