International students who are properly vaccinated and wish to study in New South Wales will no longer be required to undergo quarantine. Students will return to NSW via aircraft beginning in December as part of a staged trial scheme, with the first chartered plane carrying returning overseas students touching down on December 6.


It comes 18 months after the country’s borders were closed to international students, and it makes NSW the first Australian state to welcome them since the pandemic began. This process will serve as a milestone in bringing back international students back to Australia.

“They don’t just make a significant contribution to our economy, international students play a role in our culture and contribute to our community and lifestyle.” said the NSW Premier.

Before the pandemic, almost 290,000 international students were studying in NSW, sustaining over 95,000 full-time jobs. The first flight into the state is expected to bring in roughly 250 students from over 15 countries, including Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea, China, and Canada, with a second trip slated to bring in students from South Asia and India.

This decision has come up with serious concern from some experts however. While more than 80% of the NSW population over the age of 16 is completely vaccinated, it is not evenly distributed.

In some geographical areas, vaccination coverage among people aged 16 and up is less than 60%. As foreign travel returns, this might put those living in these communities at greater risk. This decision could also lead to the introduction of additional COVID-19 variations into the population, increasing the possibility of massive outbreaks.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet hopeful of bringing back international students back to Australian soil (Picture: News Daily)

The premier’s declaration last Friday left out a number of essential elements, the most important of which being how people will be monitored when they return to Australia and what tests will be necessary.

It’s also unclear how this will effect families traveling with children under the age of 12 who haven’t been vaccinated and aren’t eligible for vaccination. While providing more information on any health advice that this decision was based on will not affect the outcome, it may serve to enhance public trust.

NOTE: The students must be vaccinated with a TGA recognized vaccine in order to apply. Three COVID-19 vaccines are currently in use in Australia – Comirnaty (Pfizer), Spikevax (Moderna) and Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca). These vaccines meet the TGA’s high standards for quality, safety and effectiveness.