Ever since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Canada has been seen offering tremendous support to international students in several ways. In a recent survey, Canada was also voted as the “most attractive study destination” globally. The country’s attractiveness and appeal among international students continue to soar even amid the Coronavirus crisis. All thanks to the government’s firm support and policies in response to tackling the pandemic.
The same situation differs vastly in Australia, where restrictions are still in place for international students wishing to study in Australia. Though the government has announced some plans to ensure students’ smooth and safe arrival, many remain doubtful as pilot programs in the past have either failed or get closed.
What Canada has done for students in the pandemic has piqued the interest in many aspiring students to opt for Canada for further studies over Australia. How both countries treated them will go a long way in helping to shape the countries’ economies and shaping their reputation as a safe and welcoming destination for overseas students in the post-pandemic world. The experiences these students have either in Canada or in Australia will directly affect their study abroad decisions once borders reopen.
Students are comparing countries’ responses and treatment
International students in these two countries are openly talking about their experiences and situation. Many of them are taking the help of social media and other platforms to spread their word across communities, families, and friends.
Many research and reports by university vice-chancellors and education agents have depicted that students from India, Nepal, and China are heading to universities in Canada and the UK to gain on-campus experiences instead of just online studies.
In fact, students who desperately wanted to go to Sydney have now ‘given-up’ on waiting for Australia’s borders to reopen, and thus looking for alternatives in Canada. Many students have also been impressed by Canada’s timely support for international students during the crisis.
What Canada has done for international students?
On October 20, Canada announced a landmark decision to reopen its borders, allowing displaced international students to enter the country and realize their study in Canada plans.
Canada also instructed the designated learning institutions (DLI) to have an approved Covid-19 readiness plan to ensure the safe arrival of international students. The plan was necessary for the federal government before it could open the borders for overseas students.
Australia is yet to reopen its borders, which are closed since March 2020. Australia has had only one successful pilot program under which 63 international students returned to Charles Darwin University in November 2020.
Recently, the Federal Government of Australia has approved South Australia’s plans to bring back international students, making it the first Australian state to welcome international students. Previously, the government shelved many Pilot programs because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ease in Quarantine Requirements
Fully vaccinated students in Canada need not follow mandatory quarantine requirements if they test negative upon arrival. Additionally, from July 5 onwards, Canada will allow fully vaccinated travelers to enter Canada without following the quarantine requirements.
Students are also no longer needed to perform an additional Covid-19 test on the eighth day. Instead, a negative RT-PCR report three days before arriving in Canada and upon arrival would be sufficient.
Easing of PGWP eligibility
The government of Canada had also eased the eligibility requirements for international students taking online classes without affecting their post-graduate work permit eligibility. The country also announced permanent residency pathways for 40,000 international students as a gesture to recognize their meaningful contributions to the Canadian economy.
Not Vaccinated? No Worries
Students who are yet to be vaccinated can still enter Canada, however, they must test thrice (pre-departure, upon arrival, and on the eighth day) and also quarantine themselves. Fully vaccinated students must have received both doses of the vaccine 14-days before arriving in Canada.
Following Covid-19 vaccines are approved by the government of Canada:
- COVISHIELD Verity/Serum Institute of India (SII) (COVISHIELD), and
To Sum Up
Considering the aforementioned points, it won’t be wrong to say that Australia needs to do more to reshape international education and help students feel welcome in the country. The world-class student support given by Canada has garnered the attention of international students and also temporary workers in Canada’s social policy response to COVID-19.