Ever since the Covid-19 outbreak, several countries have sealed international borders. This has created a massive problem for the students and the working class. International students are not able to commute. International students are stuck wherever they are.
Many international students cannot study in German Universities even after taking admission due to the visa processing issue. Again, many international students are unable to get back to South Australia due to travel restrictions.
South Australian Government Is Trying to Bring Back Students
The South Australian Government is working hard on a pilot program to bring back international students before Christmas this year. There is no definite deadline. But as per the reports, around 300 international students are expected to fly back to Australia in December 2020. The government is working on the final logistics right now.
The state government is holding back themselves from taking the final leap until they get the official nod from the federal government. The South Australian Government, the Commonwealth, and other connected agencies work together as a team to finalize the pilot program. They are working hard to bring back 300 international students without any hazards this December.
The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is trying to find a solution to the international travel restrictions due to Covid-19. Many countries have sealed international borders as a precautionary measure to avoid spreading the viral infection. The honorable Prime Minister is working hard to resolve this problem before giving official approval to the South Australian government on bringing back its international students.
Phil Honeywood, the CEO of the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA), feels helpless at this moment. People are asking him when they can expect to see international students back in the country. But he has no definitive answer. He can’t quote the exact date unless Prime Minister Morrison puts his signature on South Australia’s proposal. It is expected that Morrison will have a meeting with Chief Ministers on lifting the ban on international arrivals. Much depends on how the chief ministers and other ministers convince Morrison on the importance of lifting bans on international arrivals.
Honeywood believes that when the federal government makes an amicable agreement with the state government on the border cap issue, the scenario will improve. It will be easy to fly back the 300 students into South Australia.
Honeywood is also hopeful that the Northern Territory government will also get approval for its pilot plan from the Prime Minister. He feels that it would be great if Northern Territory and South Australia will sign agreements with the Prime Minister at the same time. But, everything depends on the Prime Minister. They can’t do anything but wait.
The senior minister said, “International students could return to Australia by year-end or 2021”.
Thousands of International Students Are Stranded
Around 7000 South Australian international students are struck offshore due to the pandemic side-effects. For the past six months, international borders are not open like before. Strict restrictions are there on international flights. Many tourists are also stranded in various countries due to this reason. No one knows when the situation will get normal.
The Australian government is scared. What if international students increase the COVID risk in the country? Many international students are stranded in countries with high Covid-19 risk. The Australian government is not in a stage to take any risk, especially when there is no vaccine to keep Covid-19 at bay. The South Australian government has not also confirmed the name of the countries in the pilot program from where the international students will come back.
The federal government is already skeptical about this pilot program. Needless to say, the South Australian Government won’t take any chances regarding it. They are waiting for the Prime Minister’s approval. Once Scott Morrison gives permission, then the South Australian government will check and confirm the minute details of the pilot government. They will also ensure the name of the countries where students are stranded since the beginning of 2020.
Earlier, South Australia Premier Steven Marshall commented that the government is on the operational mode. It is still working on plans to decide how to bring back students in the country. The government has to be very careful. It can’t take any risk for both students and residents of the country. Until now, the federal government has not yet been able to make any decision. As such, the mental condition of the students and their parents are quite frightful.
The federal government is keeping a close on the countries with high Covid-19 risk. For instance, Barry O’Farrell, the Australian High Commissioner to India, said that Indian students are excluded from the proposed pilot programs. They will be part of this program only when there is direct access to India.
Unfortunately, Indian students are facing discrimination worldwide due to the pandemic. India is a high Covid-19 risk country. Many countries are not yet ready to welcome students from those countries, and this includes Germany. Although Germany has not made any official statement, they are also not processing the visas of the Indian students. So, the situation is really serious now.
Education is a significant source of revenue for Australia. Pandemic has hit that sector and the country’s income badly. This is why the government is working so hard on the pilot program. However, one thing is sure. Even if international students return to the country, they have to stay in hotel quarantine for 14 days.
Hopefully, the federal government will reach a decision soon. The future of many international students is at stake. They are losing time and money. Their career depends on higher education. Again, Australia’s economy is also getting affected due to the pandemic.
No one knows when the epidemic will go away from the country. No one knows when people can move freely without any fear of getting infected. But it’s wrong to punish international students due to this reason. They are the ones who will lead this world in the future. They have the right to get an education without any discrimination.