The first group of international students has arrived in the city of Darwin in Australia for the first time since the borders were closed in March, under a pilot program of the government that intend to bring back international students to the country.
The plane carrying up to 70 international students who are nationals of China, Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia and Vietnam, arrived today at Darwin International Airport, Erudera College News reports.
Students had to travel to Singapore to catch the flight and will have to self-isolate for 14 days at the government’s quarantine facilities.
Through a statement, Charles Darwin University (CDU) said that this is an important step in the recuperation of international education in Australia.
A few weeks ago, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that international students were not to be permitted to enter the country yet, as Canberra would be giving importance to returning the Australians who have been stranded abroad.
Although the government had promised to assist them in returning home by Christmas, there are over 35,000 Australians stranded overseas due to restrictions in the number of people returning in the country.
On the other hand, the number of international students in Australia has decreased from thousands to dozens which could take many years for the market to recover.
Yet, there are still many international students who have been stuck in Australia amid the pandemic and are having difficulties in securing elementary things.
As a result, a new service provided by Foodbank Australia is helping students who have been financially affected by the Corona pandemic and have not received any support from the government either, offering them free food.
Freshman, Xitao Jiang from China, considers himself very lucky to be permitted to return to Australia again under the program. Jiang told ABC that he initially came to Australia in 2019 on a working holiday visa, but remained in China after he returned there to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
“My working holiday visa expired in August. Then I applied for a degree at Charles Darwin University because I love the living environment in Australia so much,” he said.
CDU became the first university in Australia to allow international students to enter the country through a pilot program adopted by the Northern Territory and federal governments.
Last year, there were over 500,000 international student enrollments in the country contributing to Australia’s economy with around Aus$37.