The McGowan government has given international students until Saturday to arrive in Australia if they want to be allowed into WA to start their courses.
the main points:
- Foreign students committed to WA received three different sets of advice
- The latest tour states that they have until February 5 to arrive in Australia
- The state opposition says it is creating “chaos” in the industry
It’s the latest round of confusing advice given to international students after Prime Minister Mark McGowan announced on January 20 that the state was abandoning its planned reopening.
Prior to that, international students had expected to be granted entry to WA without being quarantined after February 5.
But the ban on their entry was reimposed when the reopening of the border was postponed indefinitely.
On January 25, the government issued new directives that allow international students into Washington if they enter through another state or territory, provided they have been vaccinated twice and can isolate in an appropriate building for 14 days.
Senior Minister Rita Sviuti said the latest change was outlined in consultation with the university sector and that students still had to meet vaccination and quarantine requirements.
“I think that was some work that was done with [Education] Ms. Sfiuti said the minister and the university sector.
She said it ensured students who were already in Australia would be able to start their studies at Western Australian universities.
Deadline “unfair”: the opposition
Shadow Education Secretary Peter Randle said he has received calls from the international education sector about the changing rules.
“What appeared today was a back-and-forth leap,” Randall said.
“Mark McGowan saw fit to change his mind, with limited warning about the rules for students wishing to come to Western Australia to study.
“They offered international students three different options within a short period of time.”
Mr Randell said students and universities were only informed yesterday that they could enter if they arrived at midnight on February 4th.
“This is only a few days notice,” he said.
“Our universities are scrambling, our students are scrambling, and it will cost them hundreds if not thousands of dollars in airline tickets if they can get their tickets and [meet the] WA entry requirements.
“They also need to enter via another city in Australia, which further complicates the matter.
“In my view, the international student sector in Washington is in a state of disarray and confusion.”
“We have an international student sector in Western Australia worth about $2 billion and 12,000 jobs… it’s not good enough.”
A government spokesperson said the February 5 deadline is in line with what Mr. McGowan announced on January 25 for international students returning to Washington.
“Students who are already in Australia (by February 5), and who meet all entry requirements for approved travelers, may enter Western Australia, provided they quarantine in appropriate places for 14 days and meet all other entry requirements, including vaccination and testing requirements,” said the speaker.