Associations welcome the pilot plan for foreign students
The Australian government has given the green light to a plan by NSW to begin welcoming international students to the state to continue their education and find jobs in desperately understaffed sectors such as the hospitality industry.
A pilot scheme funded by the education sector has seen the student housing operator, Scape, renovate a housing complex on the Sydney suburb of Redfern to help up to 650 students complete their mandatory quarantine period according to the standards approved by NSW Health and NSW Police.
The first contingent of 500 students has pledged to return to Australia on specially chartered flights before the end of the year. All students must be fully immunized with a TGA-recognized vaccine, with the student contingent exceeding the weekly threshold for the returning state of Australian citizens and permanent residents.
NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres has said NSW is Australia’s number one destination for international students.
“Over 57,000 students are currently abroad, many of whom are desperate to return, resume their studies, work part-time, connect with friends and continue their journey at our world-renowned institutions,” said Minister Ayres.
The program was well received by Tourism Accommodation Australia and the Accommodation Association, TAA Chief Michael Johnson said he was pleased the program is continuing after some waiting time.
“This is good news for the economy of our visitors to New South Wales, but more importantly, it is one of the ways we can begin to tackle the chronic shortage of personnel in our industry. Johnson said.
âStaffing was a major issue before this latest COVID lockdown and is now expected to be even worse. We cannot begin to organize a viable recovery without workers and it is a step in the right direction. “
Accommodation Association CEO Richard Munro said the program was a welcome step forward, but the skills shortage was spreading across the hotel ecosystem.
âWe desperately need more practical measures so that our members can begin to bring their teams together with sufficient lead time to start operating at the levels needed once the restrictions are lifted,â said Munro.
“This means allowing team members to travel between LGAs, for example with the necessary measures, even if the locks remain in place.”