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International students will not be returning to Australia in July

Disappointment for students as Canberra has indefinitely postponed its ‘Safe Passage’ pilot program to bring international students back into the country until there is a “clearer picture around the COVID-19 trajectory.”

The two state-owned universities in the Australian Capital Territory which are jointly initiating the country’s first pilot have announced that they have postponed the plan to bring back up to 350 overseas students to the capital.

“Given the recent COVID developments, the universities have decided to postpone the well-advanced pilot plan to return 350 continuing students to Canberra campuses in late July until there is a clearer picture around the COVID trajectory,” the universities said in a joint media release.

Under the plan being jointly initiated by the University of Canberra and the Australian National University, confirmed students will need to organise their own travel to the departure city to board the charter flight. The location of the departure city has not yet been confirmed.

Professor Paddy Nixon, the vice-chancellor and President of the University of Canberra said the health and safety of our students, staff, the university communities and that of the broader community has always been our first priority.

“Given the ever-evolving circumstance of this global pandemic, we think it best to press pause on our plans to return a small number of our valued continuing international students who contribute so much to the vibrancy of our city and our campus,” said Professor Nixon.