What to expect if you have applied for programs in Australia with the escalating Covid curve?

The outbreak of the Covid pandemic in 2019 led countries around the world to close their borders to cope with rising infections and deaths. The ripple effect has hit industries that depend on international travel very hard. The overseas education market has been one of many bearing the brunt of border closures as a result of this global pandemic. Subsequently, 2020 was an unfavorable year for overseas education as countries used a Zero-Covid strategy before health officials around the world realized the infeasibility of this approach.

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However, as vaccination rates have improved and infection cases have declined in 2021, some popular international education destinations have reopened their borders.

As a result, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom have obtained more international student visa applications online at or above pre-pandemic levels, according to a report dated December 14, 2021 from the Mitchell Institute. for Education and Health Policy from the University of Victoria. In comparison, Australia and New Zealand saw a drop in visa applications from international students due to restrictive border policies, according to the report.

Then, on December 15, 2021, in a long-drawn-out move, Australia lifted its border restrictions after nearly two years and opened the country to foreign nationals to benefit the country’s education sector, among other industries. . New Zealand has also changed its policy on Covid, effective December 2021, and moved to a ‘traffic light’ system. Not only that, the Australian government has announced that students pursuing taught masters courses will now be able to stay for up to 3 years after graduation to find job opportunities in the country, extending it for another year. .

But now the emergence of the contagious variant of Omicron is scaring the global student community, especially those who have already applied to study under it, as they see the current Covid scenario as a potential key in the works of their dream of international education. It’s no secret that students around the world were avoiding Australia and New Zealand due to the strict anti-coronavirus measures in place in those countries, which forced and fueled the migration to online learning. . Students pursuing an international education place a high value on cross-cultural experience, a concept that is celebrated in the physical context.

So as a student, what can you expect if you have applied to programs in Australia as the Covid curve climbs?

For starters, take comfort in knowing that Australian universities depend on international students for their income, as this cohort of students accounts for 27% of university income in the country, according to a Mitchell Institute report dated August 2021. So, if universities lose out on international students, it would hurt the education sector from a financial perspective.

Second, the Commonwealth Government unveiled its Australian International Education Strategy 2021-2030 on November 26, 2021. The plan outlines new paths for growth and aims to revamp the country’s education sector, focusing on

durability. To build the resilience of Australia’s education sector, the government will support the country’s universities, especially public universities, by ensuring diversity in the admission of international students. The government will also diversify its reliance on offshore and digital educational offerings by bringing cooperation between international and Australian settings, also through trade agreements.

Third, the Australian government aims to provide an international education that meets the country’s skill requirements. This would mean more jobs in Australia for international students who have the right skills. The government also plans to provide Australian students with access to international education through collaborations with other international institutions.

Fourth, the Australian government will work to ensure social cohesion between domestic students, international students and local communities. The government will also improve the welfare of international students by streamlining important communications and publishing important information about the rights – to live and work – of international students.

And finally, the government will set up the necessary and qualitative partnerships to promote collaboration and research, with a view to ensuring innovation in the country. They will also support the country’s education sector with finances and revise regulations, especially the National Code and the ESOS Act, to improve the student experience and support diversity.

The initiatives of the Australian government, outlined above, should allay your concerns about your education plans in Australia for now, as the country is truly determined to establish itself as a powerhouse in higher education.

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