In news that will please you and the five other students in your tutorial last week, fully vaccinated international students will soon be able to return to NSW quarantine-free. Finally, I won’t be walking through campus thinking: “damn, this bitch empty, yeet”.

Under the NSW International Student Arrivals Pilot Plan, students returning to NSW from December will no longer need to be quarantined for 14 days if they are fully vaccinated with a TGA-approved vaccine.

That said, Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism, and Western Sydney and Minister for Trade and Industry Stuart Ayres said in a statement that these students would require Commonwealth Government approval to travel to Australia.

According to an NSW Government press release, the first chartered plane of returning international students under this scheme is scheduled to land in Sydney on Monday, the 6th of December.

That flight is expected to carry around 250 students from over 15 nations, including Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea, China, and Canada. A second flight is expected to arrive shortly after and will bring in students from South Asia and India.

When they arrive, returning international students will be offered accommodation at a 24-story student housing center in Redfern called Scape Redfern as well as Iglu, a hotel provider with locations across the inner-city.

Folks, this is a huge deal for the university sector. If you’re currently at university then you probably been knew but tertiary education was categorically wounded by the loss of international students when the pandemic first hit our shores in March 2020, and has really struggled to bounce back.

In September, a report by the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work found a staggering one in five university jobs were cut in the 12 months to May this year.

According to Premier Dominic Perrottet, prior to the pandemic, there were almost 290,000 international students in NSW. Those students, he said, were supporting more than 95,000 full-time jobs. Due to the casualty of tertiary education, I’d wager that they were supporting even more than that when you factor in the tutors and staff that work on a part-time or casual basis, too.

“This is a significant milestone in our roadmap to recovery and I can’t wait to welcome back such an important part of our community,” Perrottet said.

“They don’t just make a significant contribution to our economy, but international students play a role in our culture and contribute to our community and lifestyle.”

What I’m hearing from this is that O-Week in the first semester of 2022 is going to be as packed as my Wednesday in third year, where I tried to schedule all of my classes in just two days. And, I for one, am as keen as a fkn first year.

Image: Getty Images / [Loop Images]