International Students are abandoning Australia due to 2-week delay reopening

This week many international students looking for university opportunities to Australia were abandoned by the Federal Government’s 2 week delay in the wake of the new COVID-19 variant Omicron. Morrison’s government announced in the past week that 200,000 students from overseas, and fully vaccinated visa holders would have access to return to Australia for study and work. As of December 1st, the reopening of the country was available to South Korean and Japanese people with a valid visa.

However, as a spin is put on most politics the Government has changed it’s policy and delayed international students for a fortnight.

We said let’s get Australians home first, and that’s been occurring, and so from next month we will welcome back students.

Scott Morrison

As of December 1st, valid visa holders with proof of double vaccination were able to come to Australia from South Korea and Japan. Now that is not the case…


Subclass 200 – Refugee visa
Subclass 201 – In-country Special Humanitarian visa
Subclass 202 – Global Special Humanitarian visa
Subclass 203 – Emergency Rescue visa
Subclass 204 – Woman at Risk visa
Subclass 300 – Prospective Marriage visa
Subclass 400 – Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa
Subclass 403 – Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (other streams, including Australian Agriculture Visa stream)
Subclass 407 – Training visa
Subclass 408 – Temporary Activity visa
Subclass 417 – Working Holiday visa
Subclass 449 – Humanitarian Stay (Temporary) visa
Subclass 457 – Temporary Work (Skilled) visa
Subclass 461 – New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship visa
Subclass 462 – Work and Holiday visa
Subclass 476 – Skilled – Recognised Graduate visa
Subclass 482 – Temporary Skill Shortage visa
Subclass 485 – Temporary Graduate visa
Subclass 489 – Skilled – Regional (Provisional) visa
Subclass 491 – Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa
Subclass 494 – Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa
Subclass 500 – Student visa
Subclass 580 – Student Guardian visa (closed to new applicants)
Subclass 590 – Student Guardian visa
Subclass 785 – Temporary Protection visa
Subclass 790 – Safe Haven Enterprise visa
Subclass 870 – Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa
Subclass 988 – Maritime Crew visa

Many international students across RMIT have been able to get by with access to online learning with Collaborate Ultra. Some students have graduated successfully without even setting foot within the country. Sadly for students beginning in 2020 on a 3 year course, the chances of visiting the country of origin for there degree has been crushed again.

Instead of being permitted to enter the country from the 1st of December, international students are now set to arrive from the 15th, although Health Minister Greg Hunt said he wasn’t “making any guarantees” about the date when asked this week.

With advancements in State Government policies towards quarantine from the Delta strain, a deadly exposure to Omicron would be a disaster for Australian universities. As time goes on with a further delay, and 9 cases of the new strain as of yesterday it may be too late already to allow international students across the border for good.

In a recent survey from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment mid-year evidence showed that universities across Australia experienced a dramatic decline in the number of enrolments and course commencements in 2021. If the state of affairs continues, we may not see new bright faces into the empty halls of universities again.

With softer borders in other countries such as Canada, UK and US the only option for an international education is to abandon Australia all together and already this is the case for many. In comparison as of December 1st the US’s fully vaccinated rate stood at 59.5% with a much larger and spread population than Australia at 87.7%.

With the longest delay we are now one of the most vaccinated countries in the world. Australia’s issue is that the government shuts the borders without a slow process leading flights ready for departure to suddenly have to cancel. Students need a solid plan to rely on, rather than a shift to wait for evidence in other countries like lab rats. As strains come and go like the flu in the near future, the government needs to take a stance as one of the safest countries in the world against COVID-19 to rebuild the economy.

Article Written by Catalyst Editor Jasper Riley

Catalyst has been the student publication of RMIT University since 1944. We may be older than your parents but we’re still going strong!

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