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University students ‘scrambling’ to get into WA as McGowan government imposes tight deadline

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.

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.

Rita Savioti said the policy was developed in consultation with the sector. (ABC News: Elisa Borrell)

“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.

A headshot of Peter Rundle outside Parliament House, Western Australia.
Peter Randle says the changes have created chaos for the industry.

“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.”

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