Up to 300 international students who are stuck abroad are scheduled to return to three universities in Adelaide starting from November 2020 through January 2021, coinciding with talks of easing Australia border restrictions, according to SBS Punjabi. Quoting a South Australia Government spokesperson, the report said that details including the country of origin of students, flight dates and number of students per flight are yet to be determined. Students are expected to be flown on separate Singapore Airlines flights in the coming months.
The state government, however, confirmed that international students from nine countries have been invited to join the pilot plan, including Singapore, Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand and Indonesia. Seats on flights will be allocated to international students without disadvantaging Australian citizens and permanent residents seeking to return to Australia after months of being stranded due to COVID-19 border restrictions.
“The pilot programme is very important to South Australia’s universities, and to these students. But the return of Australians offshore is still the priority of the South Australian and Australian governments,” the spokesperson was quoted saying, adding that “South Australia looks forward very much to having them return. “
The three state-owned South Australian universities that will be taking part in the pilot programme include Adelaide University, Flinders University and the University of South Australia, who have already sent out letters of offer to the cohort of students to put them on “standby.”