Under the program announced by the Treasurer, 250 international students would be able to enter Sydney per fortnight, from the middle of the year.
“Commencing with a pilot is a prudent approach to safely reopening our international borders and we commend the NSW government for taking these first steps,” said Business NSW chief executive Daniel Hunter.
“A Mitchell Institute study last year found that the loss of international students was not only significant to Australian universities but also to the broader economy,” Mr Hunter said.
The study estimated that the Australian economy could lose between $30 billion and $60 billion by 2023 due to the loss of flow-on benefits such as tourism spending, accommodation and living expenses that international students bring.
Mr Hunter said: “This is why in our 2021 pre-budget submission and our 2020 pre-budget submission, we have consistently called on the NSW government to take the lead in developing arrangements for the return of international students.
“Business NSW is encouraged that the NSW government continues to lead the way by supporting the return of international students to NSW and demonstrating that we are starting down the path of safely reopening our international borders.
“Naturally, we would encourage the federal government to expedite consideration of this prudent approach, which is supported by both NSW Health and the NSW Police.”