First Asian students return to Australia as Darwin opens its doors

The first international students have touched down in Australia since the coronavirus pandemic began, with more set to follow.

Nov 30, 2020, updated Nov 30, 2020
Charles Darwin University (pic supplied)

Charles Darwin University (pic supplied)

A charter flight carrying 63 students from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam, and Indonesia landed in Darwin on Monday morning.

The pilot program is expected to boost the NT economy and help planning for the re-entry of international students to other states.

The students, who are all enrolled at Charles Darwin University, were required to undertake pre-departure health screening.

They will also quarantine for two weeks at a facility in Howard Springs before they can return to class.

Northern Territory Deputy Chief Minister Nicole Manison said they are the first international students allowed back into the country since March 20 and more are expected to follow.

“International students are a massive contributor to the Territory economy, with each student contributing an average of $40,693 each year,” she said in a statement.

The NT government will fund events and activities to help students while they’re in the Top End, such as employability skills training, social networking events and wellbeing workshops.

Earlier, a spokesman said the government had worked closely with the university to bring the students back.

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“This is the tip of the iceberg to get the ball rolling. CDU relies quite heavily on their international student cohort as do many universities,” he told AAP.

CDU Vice-Chancellor Professor Simon Maddocks said the group was made up of a mix of new and previously enrolled students returning to Darwin to continue their education.

“They are enrolled in a range of undergraduate, postgraduate and VET programs including Law, Nursing, IT, Teaching, Accounting and Engineering,” he said.

The NT government is processing 500 people per week at the National Resilience Centre at Howard Springs.

About 5000 people are expected to go through the centre before March next year.

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