Go Study Australia

Australia Re-Opening Outlook Australia Update News Page 2021

This statement is written by Simon Costain, the General Manager of Go Study Australia with the intent to provide potential students with updated information from Australia regarding border opening.  It will be updated as new information is released by the Australian Government.

15 Oct 2021 Update

15 Oct 2021 Update

Suggested booking date for new courses:  April 2022 or after

Things are moving rapidly in Australia and today we received great news:  NSW (ie Sydney) will allow international arrivals to enter from Nov 1, if they have received approved vaccinations. 

Article here: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-15/nsw-records-399-covid-19-cases/100541348

It’s important to note that this is for Australian citizens and their families only. It does not apply to student visa or working holiday makers.  The Prime Minister said it will be “Australians first”,  then other temporary visa holders later (we don’t know when this will be yet).

While it means new student arrivals don’t have a clear date yet, this is a significant step forward for Australia’s re-opening. We still have limited information about this announcement but here are some things to consider.

  • Travellers will need to have received both doses of an approved vaccine:  AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer, Sinovax
  • Travellers will need to test negative for covid-19 prior to departing for Australia
  • Student visas are taking many months to get approved and come country’s biometric testing centres are not yet open.  If you are planning to come to Australia next year, you should allow at least 4 months to ensure your student visa gets approved
  • The NSW Re-Entry Pilot discussed (below) on Sept 23 which requires 2 weeks of quarantine for approved/invited students will still run between Nov-Fev
  • We expect other states to relax their borders as they reach 80% vaccination target
  • This news will likely accelerate the opening of other states.

Although travel is not yet possible for most students, ist time to start planning your trip.  We can now suggest booking your study in Australia from April onwards if you plan to study in Sydney. We previously recommended June but have now moved our advice to April based on today’s news. 

We will keep you updated as more information is known.

23 Sept 2021 Update

Suggested booking date for courses:  June 2022 or after

Go Study believes it is most likely the governments will permit our clients to enter Australia from mid-2022 and anyone looking to book a course through us will be advised of this. Although you may have heard that NSW is “re-opening” in December this is for a select group of higher education students and does not mean anyone can enter Australia. There are strict eligibility criteria associated with the NSW pilot.
If you are planning to book your studies through Any agency – be cautious and ensure your booking is flexible in case you need to defer your start date.


Australia’s vaccination rates are progressing well and there is a positive feeling that things are improving.  NSW and Vic have both exceeded 70% first dose and are expected to reach 70% 2nd dose by mid-late Oct.

The Australian government has stated that when states hit 80% vaccinations, borders will start to open up allowing international arrivals.  Border opening decisions will be made state by state rather than for Australia as a whole country. It is expected NSW and Victoria will hit 80% vaccination rates for people 12 years and older during December, and the other states in the following months. 

It’s important to note that this does not mean an instant reopening of borders for all students and travellers. It will likely be a staged approach and it is our estimation that students from our Key regions of Europe and the Americas will not be able to enter until Mid 2022.

Reasons for this are outlined below.

  1. All international arrivals will need to undertake quarantine even if they are vaccinated.  This is to protect the unvaccinated Australians as you can still carry the virus even if you are vaccinated. The quarantine facilities can only accommodate a limited number of people so there will be a queue of people trying to get in. We anticipate this rule will last until we hit 90% vaccination rates.
  2. There are currently more than 30,000 Australians still overseas wishing to return home. These people will be given first priority.
  3. There are more than 70,000 higher education students who had commenced their studies, returned home for holidays, and could not get back.  These students are being given 2nd priority along with those students who commenced study online offshore, and will be part of the NSW re-entry Pilot (details below). It is likely that other states will take the same approach with respect to international students.
  4. Higher education students are getting priority as they have invested a significant amount of money and time to study in Australia, and the large quarantine costs (over $5000). 
  5. If the pilot program proves the process can safely manage the return of higher education students to approved higher education providers, it is anticipated the pilot will be expanded to other providers and their students with an increase to the cap.  This will likely take 3-6 months.
  6. If the pilot programs are successful, this is when we expect a more broad opening on borders for international students in mid-2022. 

As you can see, although there is talk of border openings, it will not be everyone all at once.  If you are considering studying in 2022 please be careful of anyone promising you can study in Jan or February – we do not believe this will be possible (unless you meet the pilot’s criteria – more details below).

We also believe there will be some key requirements to enter Australia:

  • You must have undertaken a covid test and received a negative result no more than 72hours (3 days) before you depart. 
  • You must be fully vaccinated with a TGA approved vaccine at least 2 weeks prior to departure
  • You must undertake some form of quarantine on arrival 
  • You must have formal evidence such as a digital passport to prove you meet vaccine and other health requirements.

NSW International Student Re-Entry Pilot

You may have also heard the news about the NSW International Student Pilot in recent days.  This is a special program that will allow select students to enter NSW to recommence/continue their studies.  It allows for 500 students to enter Australia in December, and then a capped number every 2 weeks thereafter in Jan-March.   
The program was announced publicly on September 24th and some students and agencies are confused and think the borders will open for all students in December – this is not the case. Full details are available here:  https://www.study.sydney/return

This program will be only available to select students who meet the following conditions

  • Have commenced their studies (face to face or online) and have active student visas and COEs and of the following higher education providers  
    • RedHill Education (which includes the Academy of Information Technology and Coder Academy), 
    • Kaplan International
    • Navitas, 
    • ICMS, 
    • Study Group Australia
    • Australian Catholic University, 
    • Macquarie University, 
    • The University of Newcastle, 
    • The University of Sydney, 
    • UNSW, 
    • UTS, 
    • University of Wollongong and 
    • Western Sydney University
  • These students must receive an Expression of Interest invitation from their provider AND accept all terms and conditions,
  • Students from all countries are eligible,
  • Students must have an eligible visa with at least 6 months remaining,
  • Students must have arranged post-quarantine accommodation,
  • Must be fully vaccinated with a TGA approved vaccine (AZ, Pz, MoD, JnJ)
  • Students who are booked on approved flights routing through designated hubs such as Singapore and Los Angeles,
  • Students must undertake quarantine for 2 weeks on arrival in Australia. The total cost of quarantine is approx. $5700 AUD.

Most Go Study students wish to study English language/Vocational courses so will not be eligible for the initial pilot programs. Once it has proven these pilots can be delivered safely they will be expanded to vocational and English language students as well as other approved providers.  After this expansion is completed, we hope to see a full opening of borders for all students, and expect some restrictions and requirements will still apply.

For this reason, we are still advising new students wishing to study in Australia to book courses from mid 2022 onwards.

A note about Education Providers in Australia

As you can imagine, 18 months with no new students have left many education providers in difficult situations.  A number of great colleges have closed down, while others may have changed their services to reduce delivery costs – which generally results in a lower quality experience for students.  Go Study has 6 offices in Australia that regularly communicate with colleges and can recommend the best colleges to provide quality education and safe and flexible enrolment conditions.  

Our nationwide presence in Australia is our greatest strength, as we have the most up-to-date and knowledgeable global staff who can ensure you have the best experience and don’t enroll in a college at risk of closing down. We are pleased to note there are still many good colleges delivering a great experience, so contact us and we will guide you through your options


We are excited to see positive progress in vaccinations which will allow Australia to welcome international students and working holiday makers back in 2022. There are no guarantees but we do see a re-opening highly likely.   If you are looking to travel in 2022, our advice for you is to book for June 2022 or afterward. If you book earlier (e.g April) you may need to defer your course and this can be complicated and time-consuming.  It may be possible for earlier access, but we think it’s unlikely given the information discussed.   We can always move your booking forward if the situation changes. 

Go Study Australia will provide you with transparent information and our advice based on the information available.  If you would like to begin your study journey for English, Vocational, or University studies – we are here to help.  We will provide you with free support and advice for every step of the journey


Go Study Australia will provide you with transparent information and our advice based on the information available.  If you would like to begin your study journey for English, Vocational, or University studies – we are here to help.  We will provide you with free support and advice for every step of the journey.