The Australian government is working on a plan to allow temporary visa holders to return to Australia. The country’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said the government is planning to let temporary migrants, including international students and visitors, enter the country as soon as possible, Hawke said: “We’ve learned one thing out of COVID, and that is we absolutely miss the visitors to our economy and temporary visa holders. We want them back as soon as possible.”
“That’s why the government is rolling out our vaccination programme and preparing for the opening of our international borders, so we can have those important visits from tourists that spend so much money in our country but also the international student sector, one of our largest export sectors, they value-add so inherently to the Australian economy, we want to get them back.”
New South Wales Treasurer Dominic Perrottet also said that international education is a bigger employer in New South Wales than agriculture, mining and real estate. Perrottet has been a vocal advocate for getting Australia’s international education sector up and running again.
Perrottet argued that while students and the education sector are affected by border closures, so are the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people in NSW who depend on international education. The other hidden cost includes leading universities that are missing the contributions of higher degree research and PhD students from offshore.
International Students eager to return to Australia for a better learning experience
International students have been campaigning for a clear timeline over their return to Australia. Remote students have complained about the poor quality of online learning and wish to return to face-to-face learning as soon as possible. A new survey has found that student satisfaction at Australia’s universities has dropped. The 2020 Student Experience Survey by the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) found that international students appear to have reported a sharper fall in student ratings than domestic students in 2020.