As per Australia’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, international students are likely to be high on the priority list of the government of Australia.
Speaking in a recent interview with SBS News, the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs stated that he did not believe that Australia’s reputation as a destination for migrants had been impacted by the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following a Cabinet reshuffle by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in December 2020, Hawke had been tasked with overseeing Australia immigration and citizenship along with multicultural issues and immigration services.
As per the Federal Immigration Minister of Australia, directing the Australian immigration program had been challenging over the past year because of the pandemic situation.
“But I think we’re in a good position – we have a great reputation internationally … and we know there’s going to be a huge demand for access to Australia as soon as the border is opened.” — Alex Hawke
According to Hawke, the Australian government is prioritizing international students and skilled manpower in emerging sectors.
Hawke went on to state, “As soon as the border is opened, we want those people to come here and help the business because it will create more jobs. It will lead to economic growth and we need it.”
“We want people, including immigrants, to come to Australia as soon as possible.”
Australia is exploring ways for rebooting its international education sector, by allowing vaccinated students to enter from certain countries and creating special student-only flights and quarantine facilities.
In 2019, Australia’s international student sector was worth around AUD 40 billion.
Latest official data reveals that there were presently 374,000 foreign nationals on student visas in Australia.
Generally, Australin universities tend to have a significant number of international enrolments.
The universities in Australia – along with Federal and State governments – have been considering ways for allowing international students to return to Australia, particularly after Australia commenced with its COVID-19 vaccination roll-out.
Minister Alex Hawke said that the vaccination roll-out in Australia was enabling the Australian authorities to prepare to open borders, allowing entry to international students.
Speaking in the interview with SBS News, Minister Hawke stated that the Australian government was “preparing for the opening of our international borders” so that Australia could have “those important visits from tourists” and “also the international student sector, one of our largest export sectors”.
According to Hawke, international students “value-add so inherently to the Australian economy – we want to get them back.”
Australia remains among theTop 3 countries for immigration post COVID-19.
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