Repatriating Australians stranded offshore by COVID-19 remains the Morrison government’s number one priority, but the education sector has been told to work with state and territory governments in regard to international students.
Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan said jurisdictions have been asked to draw up plans how they can accommodate returning international students within their quarantine caps.
“Our priority is returning Australians and that will continue to be the case especially in the lead up to Christmas,” Tehan told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda on Sunday.
“But we have asked state and territory governments to submit plans to us as to how they can bring in international students back.”
Australia’s $40 billion (US$29 billion) foreign student education industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 jobs having been lost.
Tehan said the government is doing all it can to minimise job losses.
“If you look and take an assessment with comparable industries it is actually below the job losses we have seen in other industries more broadly across the nation,” he said.
By Colin Brinsden