International students to be flown into Darwin under NT Pilot Program

Charles Darwin University (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

“The Northern Territory Government is working towards a pilot program which will allow as many as 70 international students into the state”, ABC News has reported.

“The Northern Territory Government confirmed on Monday it was working with Charles Darwin University [CDU] to fly 70 international students to Darwin from Singapore next month”, the news report reads.

The agreement for a pilot program is now in place with the Federal Government.

ABC News also reported on the uncertainty around the costs associated with flight tickets and quarantine costs. The students will have to quarantine for 14 days at Howard Springs, and the cost is is AUD 2,500 per student.

Australia’s international education industry, which is the nation’s third-largest export has been significantly impacted by restrictions placed owing to Covid-19. Thousands of international students who were home for their summer holidays were unable to return to Australia in March, after Australia shut its borders to temporary visa holders. Several hundreds of thousands of students who would have chosen Australia as their education destination in 2020 are also unable to apply for courses as international students aren’t allowed in Australia at the moment.

Several states are discussing their pilot programs to welcome international students back to Australia with the Federal Governmen. Earlier, Canberra was expected to bring 350 international students in its first pilot program, however a second wave of infections in Victoria delayed the program.

The NT Pilot Program, if executed in October, is scheduled to be the nation’s first pilot program to begin the long task of bringing hundreds of thousands of international students back to Australia.