The ACT will welcome fully vaccinated international students back to the beginning of the academic year 2022.
Returning students do not need to be quarantined, but they must follow other standard federal government directives for international arrivals, including mandatory testing within 72 hours of the flight and have evidence of a negative result.
Prime Minister Andrew Barr said the resumption of face-to-face teaching on university campuses with the inclusion of international students in 2022 was a significant step on Canberra’s path back to normalcy. He also said it would speed up the region’s economic recovery.
“Just their presence and purchasing power in the city will mean more money being spent on local businesses and of course revenue for the universities, which will see them recruit more staff,” he said.
ANU Vice Chancellor Brian Schmidt said a clear path forward was important as the university looks forward to 2022 and bringing their students “home”.
“It’s great to have clarity about events at ACT and to know that as soon as the borders open, our students can come straight home to campus,” Professor Schmidt said.
“We will continue to work with the Commonwealth on arrangements to open the borders to students as soon as Australia can safely.”
A key component of the fully vaccinated requirement is that students be vaccinated with one of the six TGA-recognized COVID-19 vaccines, the three are administered in Australia-Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna- as well as Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine, Coronavac (Sinovac; predominantly used by China) and Covishield, mostly used in India.
About 57 per cent of Australia’s international students come from China and India. While mainland China has a relatively high fully vaccinated rate of 75 percent, India is only 21 percent fully vaccinated. Nepalese nationals make up 8 per cent of Australia’s international students; Nepal currently has only 23 percent of its population fully vaccinated.
This means that just over a quarter of Australia’s international students have insufficient access to vaccines in their home country, and unless vaccination programs increase over the next few months, a significant proportion of our international students may miss another study period.