A new pilot scheme, letting 300 international students return to South Australia in September, was announced by Simon Birmingham, Australia's Trade Minister on August 16, 2020. Being one of the key generators of revenue in the country, the trial would restart the international education sector and further contribute to reviving the economy of the region.
Stating about the plan, Birmingham informed that such students will have to go into mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 days before they begin their studies and have no exposure to the community of South Australia. All the international arrivals into the country will be done with the latest public health regulations in place.
The move has made South Australia the first to permit the return of overseas students from early September 2020. The Australian government is currently looking at all the feasible options to get international students back to the country safely. Senator Birmingham further added that no taxpayer dollars will be used to execute the pilot scheme or to support such students.
International education in Australia is a vast services export industry, bringing around $39 billion every year. The Group of Eight (Go8) or Australia's leading universities account for around 65,000 students stranded in home countries such as India, China, Nepal and Vietnam. There were over 5,00,00 overseas students in Australia at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, students paying more than $30,000 per year for higher education in the country were not able to avail government benefits during the period.