International students could start returning to Victoria before the end of this year in a new plan floated by the state government.
Around 120 students will be able to return to the state each week in the first stage of the Andrews government scheme, with priority given to health and medical degrees which have a practical component, as well as those undertaking postgraduate research.
Students entering Victoria as part of the scheme will be in addition to the state’s existing overseas arrivals cap, meaning they will not take the place of returning citizens. Victorian universities will provide the funding for the extra quarantine places, with students required to pay for their flight into Melbourne.
Around 47,000 students are currently enrolled with Victorian education providers but remain overseas due to closed borders.
Large-scale international student arrivals, not expected until next will, will include students enrolled in TAFE, secondary schools, private education providers and English language classes.
The Victorian government has submitted its two-stage plan to the Commonwealth for approval.
Professor Duncan Maskell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne, said the university sector was looking forward to the federal government “reviewing and approving the plan as soon as possible”.
Victoria’s Higher Education Minister Gayle Tierney said she was excited to soon welcome back a “valued part of our community”.