Charles Darwin University (CDU) is set to become the first university in the country to pilot a program which will see the return of international students to Australia.
The pilot, which has the approval of the Australian and Northern Territory governments, will see up to 70 international students arrive in Darwin from Singapore in late October in time for the next CDU intake on 9 November.
The group will be the first international students to enter Australia since the introduction of hard border restrictions in March due to COVID-19.
Upon arrival, students will be escorted immediately to the Northern Territory Government facility at Howard Springs for 14 days of quarantine.
CDU Deputy Vice-Chancellor Global Strategy and Advancement, Andrew Everett said his team had been working tirelessly over the past six months to secure the return of the students and wanted to reassure the Darwin community that all health and safety measures will be strictly maintained as directed by the Chief Health Officer of the NT.
“The health and safety of the Northern Territory community is CDU’s highest priority,” Mr Everett said.
“CDU is adhering to the advice of the Chief Health Officer on all aspects relating to health and safety, including pre-departure health requirements, COVID-19 testing and quarantine upon arrival. CDU staff will also deliver pastoral care to support students’ wellbeing.”
Students are likely to come from a range of countries including China and Southeast Asia. They will travel from Singapore to Darwin at their own expense.
Mr Everett said the flight would be the first step in rebuilding Australia’s international education industry and helping CDU and the NT to continue its recovery from COVID-19.
“International students contribute an estimated $99 million into the NT economy each year and support almost 500 jobs. It is hoped that the success of the pilot will help contribute to the recovery of the NT economy,” he said.
“CDU’s international students make up approximately 10 per cent of our student cohort and are critical to the university’s growth.
“This is a breakthrough for Australia and particularly CDU, the institution closest to Asia and the logical city to be piloted as the first safe corridor, assisted by having the Howard Springs residential facility.”