Tudge prescribes proof of shot in the arm for international arrivals

Education Minister Alan Tudge says “some” international students will arrive this year but that he hopes 2022 could be “close to normal with significant numbers returning”

Speaking to the Victorian chapter of the Australia-India Business Council, Mr Tudge said the situation next year will depend on transmission rates in students’ countries and evidence of vaccination. “When a person comes to the border can we have that surety that a person has been vaccinated and presents as the person who they are.”

“That’s something we are starting to do some work on – when someone presents at the border and say they have been vaccinated we need to have some authentification around that and some trust that is the case,” he told the AIBC.

“If that’s the case and transmission is low then my hope is that if people have been vaccinated in India and we have had a good roll-out of the vaccine here then we can bring people back in a relatively safe manner.”

The minister added, arrivals this year will depend on state and territory governments working with higher education institutions. “If they set up quarantine regimes above and beyond existing regimes then we would consider them. I know that NSW and South Australia are working on such proposals.”

Pointing to this week’s launch of the government’s consultation paper for a ten-year international education strategy, Mr Tudge said there are also, “significant opportunities to support even greater numbers of Indian students through different modes of delivery.” Plus, “I can’t see any reason why high quality institutions can’t come and set up here to provide further opportunities for Australian students.”

Mr Tudge is expected to speak on the international strategy paper Wednesday morning at RMIT.