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  • Queensland government will reopen to international students

    Author: AAP

The Queensland government plans to allow for up to 250 fully vaccinated international students to fly into the state each week from January.

The Queensland government will reopen to fully vaccinated international students in time for the first semester of next year, but admits its plan could change before then.

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Innovation Minister Stirling Hinchliffe says up to 250 international students will fly in per week and quarantine at the state's under-construction facility at Wellcamp, near Toowoomba, from January.

The plan still needs federal approval, with the state seeking permission for direct international flights to land at Wellcamp Airport.

"We've taken the next most important step in welcoming international students back to Queensland," Mr Hinchliffe told parliament on Tuesday.


"Our Queensland Student Arrival Plan has been sent to the federal government for approval. This will see the return of international students to study in Queensland in 2022."

The minister said initially 250 students would arrive weekly, but that would be scaled up as time went on.

Students studying medical research and allied health will be prioritised, he said, so they can potentially back up the state's health system as it reopens the borders.

Mr Hinchliffe said if the federal government doesn't approve international flights landing at Wellcamp, students will be bussed there from Brisbane Airport.

Questions have been raised about the viability of the plan with NSW and Victoria planning to scrap quarantine for fully vaccinated international travellers on November 1.

If that happened, Queensland-bound students could circumvent a stint in Wellcamp by flying into Sydney and staying there for 14 days before travelling north.

But Mr Hinchliffe said Queensland's plan could be changed before January because it's based on the current federal quarantine requirements which are likely to shift by the new year.

"I'd love to see a situation where we have those vaccination rates at the stage where that means that we do have that opportunity to have that discussion," he added.

The minister said Queensland isn't planning to drop quarantine requirements for international students when it scraps them for all fully-vaccinated Australian citizens and residents.

He said Queensland's reopening road map doesn't apply to international students, who will need to quarantine for the foreseeable future regardless of the state's vaccination rate.

Students quarantining at Wellcamp will also need to fund their own stint at the facility.

"If the universities want to subsidise some of that that's up to them," Mr Hinchliffe said.

"But I understand that most of the (interstate) proposals are around the cost being borne by students, as they are with any costs associated with international students."

Mr Hinchliffe said there were more than 20,000 international university students currently enrolled in Queensland, who have been undertaking online education in their 160 home countries.

He said the sector delivered $5.8 billion to the economy and supported 27,500 jobs annually.

Photo Credit: Canva


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