Western Australia state reopens to international students

PERTH, Feb 16: The state of Western Australia (WA) announced a new pathway for already-enrolled international students to return to the Aussie state despite its closed borders.

The new pathway announced on Tuesday night allows international students already enrolled in a WA primary school, secondary school, university, college, and technical college, among others, to enter the state.

Students can either fly directly into the state within the arrival cap set by the Australian government, or indirectly by transiting through another state or territory.

The students must carry proofs of negative Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) within 24 hours before departure and isolate for seven days at a suitable premise approved by WA Police or WA Department of Health after arrival.

All the arriving international students must be vaccinated with at least two doses or booster doses if eligible in their home countries. They must also take RAT or PCR test within 24 hours of arrival or a PCR test on day six or a RAT on day seven during self-quarantine.

International education is one of the major industries in Australia, but earlier this year WA authorities refused to allow the students back due to Covid precaution health advice, even though some states have already welcomed international students.

Under the new pathway, up to 6,000 international students would be allowed to return to the state. The WA government said that according to the updated health advice, the cohort presents a low risk to the community, as many factors can provide confidence in quarantine arrangements now.

“International students are an important part of the Western Australia community — making a positive contribution to the state’s diversity and vibrancy and supporting local jobs in a variety of industries. This new pathway is part of our ongoing review of border controls taking place this month, based on the latest health advice,” said WA Premier Mark McGowan.

Eligible returning international students will also get a payment of 2,000 Australian dollars ($1,430) to help cover the cost of self-quarantine, according to the government. (IANS)