Andrew Barr, Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), announced on Friday that international students who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be able to return to Canberra for the start of the 2022 academic year.
Under the plan, students who have been inoculated with a vaccine recognised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) will not have to quarantine on arrival in the ACT but will be subject to federal testing requirements, reports Xinhua news agency.
“Higher education institutions provide a considerable social and economic contribution to Canberra. The return of international students will be very welcome news for our city,” Barr said in a statement.
The international education industry, which was worth an estimated A$1 billion per year to the ACT economy prior to the pandemic, has been crippled by Australia’s strict border restrictions.
According to peak body Universities Australia, universities lost 1.8 billion Australian dollars in revenue and cut 17,300 jobs in 2020.
Paddy Nixon, vice-chancellor of the University of Canberra, said the return of international students would have major benefits for the city.
“Our international students become nurses in Canberra hospitals and the allied health professionals that will be supporting Canberrans in their everyday lives,” he said.
“As our economy starts to rebound, we will need the talents, our international students bring, and we all benefit from the vibrancy they bring to our campus and our city.”