Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has told international visitors in Australia it’s time they returned to “their home countries” amidst a press conference on Friday.
PM Morrison, addressing the plight of international students, said, “all students who come to Australia in their first year have to give a warranty that they are able to support themselves for the first 12 months of their study”.
He also said, they are “not held here compulsorily”, adding, “if they are not in a position to support themselves then there is the alternative for them to return to their home countries.”
More than 750,000 international students have enrolled in Australia for education last year among which 65,700 are Nepalis.
“As much as it is lovely to have visitors to Australia in good times, at times like this if you’re a visitor in this country, it is time to make your way home and to ensure that you can receive the supports that are available … in your home countries.” said Morrison. For Nepalese and Indian students and other temporary visa holders, returning home is also temporarily out of the question as both countries are in a lockdown.
Meanwhile, students and organisations working for international students and temporary visa holders have expressed dismay over the PM’s words. It is noteworthy to mention that India and Nepal send some of the highest number of students to Australia’s multi-billion dollar education industry.
NRNA Australia in Facebook Post has said ‘that they were disappointed with the PM’s announcement, but they understood the government’s stance.’ NRNA Australia has also said they will continue their support and assistance towards Nepali international students and temporary visa holders.
PM Morrison has also stated international visitors with critical skills could be an exception. “For those backpackers in Australia who are nurses or doctors, or have other critical skills that can really help us during this crisis, then there will be opportunities for them,” he said.