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Vaccinated international students set to return without quarantine

In preparation for the 2022 academic year, fully vaccinated international students will be allowed to return to Melbourne from December without having to endure a quarantine period.

President of the Parkville Association Rob Moore spoke on behalf of the Parkville community when he said it was looking forward to the arrivals and “getting the vibrancy of the University of Melbourne back”.

“[It will be great] just to walk through the university and see the young ones really enjoying themselves and seeing all the other outlets in the university reopening,” he said.

Alongside having relevant Commonwealth visas and travel exemptions approved, international arrivals will also have to comply with testing requirements and test negative to COVID-19 within 72 hours of their departure.

The updated requirement is part of the state government’s International Student Arrivals Plan, and is heavily supported by University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor, Professor Duncan Maskell.

“We acknowledge the Victorian Government for supporting the safe return of international students and thank the Australian Government for approving the plan. A strong and diverse international student and graduate research community is crucial to our essence as a university,” he said.

“Supporting [international students] to fulfil their potential in their educational and research endeavours is part of being a global institution, and the benefits they bring to our community and society more broadly is immense.”

Ranked third on the QS Best Student Cities in 2019, Victoria has a rich cultural history in accepting and supporting international students.

And their absence has not only been heavily felt by the universities but also businesses across the city. Currently there are around 70,000 offshore international students enrolled with Victorian education providers, and only 49,000 in the state.

These figures represent a noticeable difference from pre-COVID times when 200,000 international students resided in Victoria, supporting 79,000 jobs and contributing $13.7 billion to the state’s economy.

With both state and local governments determined to revive Melbourne again as one of the world’s best student cities, a limited number of international students will be arriving weekly from late December.

The program will prioritise students returning for practical work, postgraduate research work and health and medical studies.

Minister for Trade Martin Pakula said he was looking forward to seeing the plan implemented.

“International students add to the cultural richness and diversity of our state. They are valuable members of our community, and we look forward to welcoming them back soon,” he said.

In addition to the influx of international students on campus, University of Melbourne’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor International, Professor Michael Wesley said he was looking forward to having all students back at the Parkville campus.

“While we continue to deliver a world-class education online, our students and staff highly value face-to-face interaction and collaboration and are looking forward to coming together on campus.” •

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