Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA), a membership-based peak body bringing together independent providers in the higher education, vocational education and training sectors has confirmed arrangements of a pilot program to enable international students to return to Australia.
“The ITECA has been involved in an ongoing series of discussion with the Australian Government on the return of international students in the context of the Covid-19 crisis. Confirmation of the arrangements for a pilot program to return students were provided in a high-level briefing provided by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment on 15 July 2020”, it has said in its website.
ITECA has also said ‘the pilot program is limited to small-scale returnees, and each state/territory government must present a plan to the Australian Government for approval’.
State / territory borders:
State/territory borders also must be open; however, it is understood that there may be some limited closures to deal with local outbreaks (e.g. current closures pertaining to Victoria).
Students arriving from overseas must do so in circumstances where there interaction with others is limited at the point of departure and that they be mandatorily quarantined upon arrival. The costs of this must be met by the provider or the state / territory government.
Campuses Must Be Open:
A key requirement is that the campus must be open to students within the context of Covid-safe operations.
Students coming to Australia must also have a current student visa, and that the return of students be incorporated within international arrival limits set by each state / territory and the Australian Government.
ITECA has also said that they believe international students will not be able to travel to Australia in large numbers until the second-half of calendar 2021 unless there is a material change in the public health situation globally.
ITECA has said they recognise the necessity of the measures from a public health safety standpoint, however, they have also advised the Australian Government that the pilot plan does not suit most independent providers.
“In a practical sense, where the provider is expected to meet travel and quarantine costs the proposed pilot arrangements are cost-prohibitive in the context of supporting English language, vocational education and training, and many higher education students”, ITECA has said.