People stand on the harbour waterfront near the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia. Loren Elliott/ Reuters
Australia will not allow foreign students to return as Canberra prioritises the return of locals stuck overseas, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday.
Australia has since March closed its borders to all non-citizens and permanent residents in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19.
With foreign students worth about A$35 billion ($25.3 billion) a year to the Australian economy, Canberra had hoped to slowly allow overseas students to return in 2021. Trials began earlier this year.
But with thousands of Australians wanting to return, Morrison said there is not enough quarantine facilities.
“There is a queue, and Australians are in the front of the queue,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra.
Australia caps the numbers of locals allowed to return home each week in order to minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Once locals arrive, they enter hotel quarantine for two weeks.
Australia on Friday was on course to record a sixth straight day without any locally acquired infections. Australia has recorded about 27,700 COVID-19 infections and 907 deaths, far fewer than many other developed nations.
The continued ban on foreign students deepens a financial black-hole facing Australian education providers, estimated to be worth between A$3.1 billion and A$4.8 billion this year alone, Catriona Jackson, Chief Executive of Universities Australia, told Reuters earlier this year.
Educational think-tank the Mitchell Institute earlier this week estimated there would be 300,000 fewer international students, half the pre-coronavirus numbers, in Australia by June 2021 if border restrictions remained.
Australia’s most populous city, Sydney is expected to see a decline of more than 70,000 students, Mitchell Institute said.
Several leading universities have announced sweeping job cuts in a bid to reduce costs.
In October, Morrison’s government said it will spend A$1 billion to support university research amid the fall in overseas students.
Australia has committed to removing the vast majority of social distancing restrictions imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19 by July, while nearly A$70 billion of government aid is scheduled to finish in September.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has left the door open for Novak Djokovic to compete at next year’s Australian Open despite the tennis superstar facing an automatic three-year ban from entering the country.
Morrison's conservative government is struggling to woo Australia's 17 million voters, lagging behind the opposition Labor party in a string of opinion polls despite presiding over a rebounding economy with a 13-year-low jobless rate of four per cent.
While it was their third over-all victory and thus their third take-away of the “Rolling Trophy,” the contingent also bested the other contestants in the topic “Industrial Animal Agriculture - A Compelling Contributor to Climate Change?”
Dr Omar Al Muthanna said, “The UAE is a beacon for many countries as well as one of the fastest growing economies in the region. We are appreciating the long-term relationship between the two countries of the UAE and Pakistan.
With Emirati graduates representing 54% of the class of 2022, the 13th cohort included 233 graduates comprising 145 Bachelor’s, 73 Masters and 15 Executive Diploma graduates.