The ACT will welcome back fully vaccinated international students for the beginning of the 2022 academic year.
Returning students will not need to quarantine but will need to follow other standard Federal Government directives for international arrivals, including mandatory testing within 72 hours of the flight and having proof of a negative result.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said that the resumption of face-to-face teaching on university campuses with the inclusion of international students in 2022 was a significant step in Canberra’s path back to normality. He also said it would accelerate the region’s economic recovery.
“Just their presence and spending power in the city will mean more money being spent on local businesses and obviously revenue for the universities which will see them recruit more staff,” he said.
Vice-Chancellor of ANU Brian Schmidt said a clear path forward was important as the university looks ahead to 2022 and bringing their students “home”.
“It’s great to have clarity about arrangements in the ACT and to know that as soon as the borders open our students can come straight home to campus,” Professor Schmidt said.
“We will continue to work with the Commonwealth on arrangements to open the borders to students as soon as Australia safely can.”
A key component of the fully vaccinated requirement is that students must be vaccinated with one of the six TGA-recognised COVID-19 vaccines, the three being administered in Australia – Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna – as well as the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine, Coronavac (Sinovac; predominantly used by China) and Covishield, mostly used in India.
Approximately 57 per cent of Australia’s international students come from China and India. While Mainland China has a relatively high fully vaccinated rate of 75 per cent, India is only 21 per cent fully vaccinated. Nepalese nationals make up 8 per cent of Australia’s international students; Nepal currently only has 23 per cent of their population fully vaccinated.
It means just over one-quarter of Australia’s international students have insufficient access to vaccines in their home country, and unless the vaccination programs ramp up in the next few months, a significant portion of our international students may miss out on yet another study period.