Proposed return of international students to Sydney

16 July 2021

The University of Sydney welcomes the recent announcement by NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, about the NSW Government pilot plan for the expected safe return of international students over the second half of this year.

University of Sydney
University of Sydney hopes to welcome back international students

“We’re delighted that under this plan our international students will begin to be able to safely return to campus to complete their studies and thank the Premier and Treasurer for their support.

“This carefully considered plan prioritizes the health and safety of the community, as well as the enormous economic and cultural benefits our international education sector provides.

“Our students who must undertake face-to-face learning to complete their degrees will be prioritized as part of this plan. Eligible students will be contacted directly once the proposal is approved.

“We can’t wait until all our students are able to safely join us on campus. In the meantime, we’ll continue to provide remote and online learning options for our students overseas for as long as it’s needed and we’re offering a range of support services, resources and events to support them while they study.

“Since August last year we’ve also supported as much on-campus activity as possible, and we’ve loved seeing the return of our vibrant campus community.

What is the proposal to return offshore international students to the University of Sydney?
The proposal to return some international students to NSW universities is a joint undertaking between the NSW Government, Study NSW and all NSW universities. It aims to progressively, and safely, return international students enrolled in universities to NSW so they can continue their studies on campus. The proposal has been submitted to the Australian Federal Government for approval.

Initially, the pilot program will welcome 250 students a fortnight back to all universities in NSW, increasing to 500 by the end of 2021. Students who must undertake face-to-face learning to complete their degrees will be prioritized as part of this plan. Eligible students will also be required to complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

This pilot program is supported by the university sector and will be run in parallel to the current arrangements to return Australian citizens to Australia. All costs will be managed by the university sector. The proposal has been approved by NSW Health and NSW Police.

Who will be eligible to return?
To be eligible to return to Sydney, students must satisfy and agree to some basic requirements:

  • Only a small number of students will initially be eligible to return.
  • Students will need a valid Australian student visa.
  • Students will need to return a negative COVID-19 test predeparture.
  • Eligible students will be contacted by the university once the proposal is approved.

What happens next?
We now await the Australian Federal Government’s approval of the proposal and we will keep all students up to date with information as it is available. The University of Sydney will make direct contact with students who are eligible to participate in the program via their official university email.


If you have questions about this proposal and how it may affect your program, please contact OzTREKK at