试点项目 – 国际学生有望回澳上课
It is no secret that international education contributes significantly to the Australian economy. According to the Reserve Bank of Australia, health and education contributes 13% to Australia’s GDP. Apart from the contribution to our universities and other educational institutes, international students also make other contributions to Australia – they contribute human capital to our workforce, they bring cultural diversity to the country, and in pre-COVID-19 times, they also contribute to the tourism industry.
国际教育对澳大利亚经济的巨大贡献已不是什么秘密。据澳大利亚储备银行（Reserve Bank of Australia）统计，健康和教育占澳大利亚国内生产总值（GDP）的13%。除了对我们的大学和其他教育机构的贡献外，国际学生还为澳大利亚做出了其他贡献——他们为我们的劳动力贡献了人力资本，他们为国家带来了文化多样性，在COVID-19之前，他们还为旅游业做出了贡献。
As early as July 2020, there had been plans to bring back international students who had been stranded offshore. These plans were of course subject to the state or territory in question opening its borders and the university campuses being open to on-campus learning for both domestic students and international students who are onshore.
On 5 October 2020, Charles Darwin University announced a pilot program to bring back 70 international students in time for the intake on 9 November 2020. These students will fly in from Singapore to Darwin and they will undergo mandatory quarantine at the Government facility at Howard Springs. A similar program has also been announced by Adelaide University, the University of South Australia (UniSA) and Flinders University, and it is likely that 300 students will travel to Australia between November 2020 and January 2021.
Current Travel Restrictions
Followers of our blog will no doubt be aware that the Australian border is still closed to international travel. With the exception of categories such as Australian citizens, permanent residents, eligible New Zealand citizens and their immediate family members, non-citizens generally need to request an exemption in order to enter Australia. Currently, the categories of exemptions available to non-citizens are:
- a non-citizen travelling at the invitation of the Australian Government or a state or territory government authority for the purpose of assisting in the COVID-19 response;
- providing critical or specialist medical services, including air ambulance, medical evacuations and delivering critical medical supplies;
- a non-citizen with critical skills or working in a critical sector in Australia;
- a non-citizen sponsored by your employer to work in Australia in an occupation on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL);
- a non-citizen whose entry would otherwise be in the national interest, supported by the Australian Government or a state or territory government authority;
- military personnel, including those who form part of the Status of Forces Agreement, Commonwealth Armed Forces, Asia Pacific Forces and Status of Armed Forces Agreement;
- a student completing year 11 and 12, with support from the relevant Australian State or Territory government health authority and education department;
- travelling for compassionate and compelling reasons.
This means that, all 70 students heading to CDU for their studies currently need to request a travel exemption, and have their request approved before they can board the plane to the Northern Territory. Currently, there is no separate category for student visa holders, and it is unclear if the ABF will update the list once the pilot programs commence.
Travel Bubble? 旅行泡泡？
As of 16 October 2020, persons who had been in New Zealand for at least the last 14 days, and not in a designated hot spot can travel to New South Wales and the Northern Territory quarantine free. Potentially this travel bubble could allow student visa holders who are currently residing in New Zealand to enter New South Wales and the Northern Territory quarantine free so that they can commence or resume their studies.
自2020年10月16日起，过去14天内在新西兰且不在指定疫情重点地区的人员前往新南威尔士州和北领地， 可以不用隔离。 这种旅行泡泡可能会使目前居住在新西兰的澳洲学生签证持有人免隔离进入新南威尔士州和北领地，开始或恢复在澳学习。
Further, Australia is also in talks with countries who have controlled the outbreak of COVID-19 to establish select travel bubbles with them. Singapore has opened its borders to passengers from Australia, but travel is still one-way. Japan has also been flagged for inclusion in a future travel bubble. If these travel bubbles are two-way, potentially, student visa holders can rely on these travel bubbles to come to Australia to commence or resume their studies.
If you hold a student visa and are currently offshore, and you are unsure about whether you require a travel exemption request to be approved, please contact our office on (02) 9689 3173 for a Skype or telephone conference.
If you are considering applying for a student visa to study in Australia, please contact our office on (02) 9689 3173 for a video or telephone conference.
Disclaimer: This information is current at the time of publication and subject to change. The contents of this blog post is provided for general information only and Kah Lawyers does not accept any liability for any damages suffered by persons who relied on this information. This information does not constitute legal advice and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice.