26 September 2023

Unis on course to bring overseas students back

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An exemption to competition laws has been granted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to universities in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory to bring international students back to campus.

Commissioner at the ACCC, Stephen Ridgeway said the 15-month collaboration would see universities work together on travel arrangements for international students.

“A recently announced NSW Government pilot plan enables the staggered return of fully-vaccinated international students to resume their studies,” Mr Ridgeway said.

“The ACCC’s final determination granting authorisation allows the participating universities to co-operate in implementing a system for returning international students, through the pilot program and continuing after the pilot, while limits on returning students and quarantine arrangements remain in place,” he said.

“The authorisation provides the universities with an exemption from competition law so they can collaborate and follow through with the NSW Government’s policy to allow for the return of international students to local universities.”

Mr Ridgeway said participating universities would be able to decide, jointly, the best way to allocate spots under the NSW Government cap.

The Commissioner said the universities would also be able to work together to appoint a travel services provider to source flights and organise travel for returning students.

“By being able to use the same travel provider, for example, the process is simpler and easier for the universities, students and Government Agencies to handle international arrivals and quarantine arrangements,” he said.

Mr Ridgeway said students would be responsible for booking and paying for their own flights and the ACCC’s approval of the universities’ collaboration did not alter Federal or State rules related to capacity limits, quarantine or funding.

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