04.11.2021International students return

On Tuesday, 12 October, the Committee convened a meeting of its International Student Advocacy Network (ISAN), meeting with government, university and council representatives as well as members of our Visitor Economy Reference Group (VERG), to discuss the current state of the international education student sector in Victoria and Australia.  Things are definitely looking up for the sector.

We heard from Mark Sinclair, Senior Manager Program & Partnerships at Fed Square and Future Focus Group (FFG) participant, on the FFG’s exciting new Melbourne International Student Week (MISW) event project. The Victorian Government’s financial commitment to the event and support from the Committee, Fed Square and all Victorian universities, was celebrated by all in attendance. MISW’s pilot is scheduled to take place at Fed Square on 21 and 22 May 2022 following postponement of the 2021 event due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Martine Letts, CEO, Committee for Melbourne briefed ISAN on the Committee’s September Road to Recovery forums with The Hon Alan Tudge MP and The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP.  Acceleration of the vaccine rollout and a coordinated national approach to opening national and international borders, were common themes of these events. Both Ministers acknowledged that international students are important for all aspects of our economy and community. Committee members raised the dampening effect the lack of international students has had on the Victorian tourism sector.

We also heard from Fiona Letos and Caroline Hartnett from Study Melbourne on the State Government’s plan for the return of international students. They shared details of the plan submitted to the Federal Government which included some welcome initiatives to help students settle into Melbourne and feel welcome. Fiona and Caroline hailed the delivery of the plan as an intense but highly successful collaboration with all levels of government, state and territory, and peak bodies across the sector. This enabled Study Melbourne to navigate the complexities associated with the operating environment, share learnings and refine policy considerations.

The idea of reviving initiatives such as the airport welcome desk and a student welcome pack were discussed with representatives from the City of Melbourne and Study Melbourne sharing their plans so far and encouraging suggestions from those in attendance.

ISAN will continue to collaborate and share information to ensure the successful return of international students to Victoria as they contribute to the vibrancy of our city, our global reputation, our skilled workforce and our economic fabric.

Stay tuned for more information on Melbourne International Student Week.

To read the Committee’s recent advocacy on the return of international students click here

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