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Australia Covid-19: Foreign university students given permission to fly in without hotel quarantine

Foreign university students will be given special permission to fly into Australia WITHOUT going into hotel quarantine – here’s how the government will stop them spreading Covid

  • Foreign university students will be allowed to stay in purpose-built housing 
  • Government scheme expected to be paid for by the universities themselves 
  • Comes despite Budget revelation Australia’s border to stay closed until 2022 
  • Hope is international students can join their courses for the August semester  

Foreign university students will be given special permission to fly into Australia without going into hotel quarantine.

International students will instead be allowed to enter New South Wales and self-isolate in Sydney in purpose-built accommodation as part of a proposal accepted by the state government.

The scheme is expected to start in August, with universities helping students cover the cost of their 14-day quarantine, The Australian reported.

Crucially the proposal will not impact the number of overseas Australians returning, with the hotel quarantine cap remaining at 3,000 a week. 

The plan comes despite Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announcing in Tuesday’s Budget the international border will remain largely closed until the middle of 2022 and international students would not arrive until the end of 2021.

Foreign university students have given special permission to fly into Australia without going into hotel quarantine, with the new arrivals starting imminently. Pictured in a queue at a Covid-19 testing centre in Melbourne on Wednesday

Officials hope the fast-tracked arrivals will mean international students can join their courses for the second semester in August.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the state did not need the federal government’s approval to move forward with the plan.

The international student market is worth $14billion a year to the NSW economy. 

‘This is about finding a way to bring students back but not at the expense of the weekly cap of Australian citizens arriving back in NSW,’ he told The Australian.

‘If we don’t address this issue then I believe we’ll have an industry on its knees and one that will look elsewhere.’

NSW has accepted 3,000 international arrivals a week since February.

The proposal is expected to be included in the NSW budget in June.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the idea was still far from ready.

‘We are still a long way from landing this, I stress at this point,’ he told 2GB on Thursday morning. 

‘We have to do it in a way that doesn’t risk the success we’ve had.’

Students pictured outside the University of New South Wales in Sydney. NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has said the state does not need the federal government's approval to move forward with the plan

Students pictured outside the University of New South Wales in Sydney. NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has said the state does not need the federal government’s approval to move forward with the plan

The revelation comes after it emerged thousands of foreign backpackers and students in Australia will be allowed to work more hours under changes announced in the federal Budget. 

Student visa holders will be temporarily allowed to work more hours in the tourism and hospitality sectors, as the government seeks to ramp up support for both industries hit hard by a lack of foreign workers entering the country. 

The government has scrapped the 40 hour per fortnight limit for foreign students in both industries which have historically relied on temporary visa holders. 

There are 350,000 foreign students still in Australia despite the Covid pandemic.

Temporary visa holders who are currently working in the ‘critical sectors’, with the new addition of hospitality and tourism, will also benefit.

With Australia's borders set to remain shut until mid-2022, the federal government has announced changes to a number of visa categories in this year's Budget (pictured, shoppers in Sydney)

With Australia’s borders set to remain shut until mid-2022, the federal government has announced changes to a number of visa categories in this year’s Budget (pictured, shoppers in Sydney)  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk