Victoria wants to bring international students into the state under Australian Open-style program

Victorian Acting Premier James Merlino has written to the federal government seeking approval for a proposal that would allow international students to return.

Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino.

Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino. Source: AAP

Victoria has revised its plan to return international students, actors and other foreign economic migrants to the state under a separate hotel quarantine scheme.

The model would bring an extra 120 arrivals into Victoria each week and not be included in the state's weekly cap of 1000 returned travellers.

Users of the system including universities, stage and screen productions and major events groups would foot the bill, which would be "over and above" the $3000 hotel quarantine fee for returning Australian adults.

In a letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison seen by AAP on Tuesday, Acting Premier James Merlino seeks approval for the scheme to begin from 24 May.

The economic cohort would catch commercial flights where possible and be housed in a dedicated quarantine hotel away from other returned travellers, similar to the Australian Open program.

"We've always said that we would work to welcome back international students when it is safe and reasonable to do so," Mr Merlino said in a statement.

"On the advice of our public health experts and in working with the Commonwealth we've put forward a proposal for a dedicated quarantine program for economic cohorts, including international students.

"We believe we've acquitted all of the Commonwealth's requirements to establish a dedicated economic stream so we look forward to their consideration and approval of this proposal."

The Victorian government in March announced its rebooted hotel quarantine program would put aside 120 additional places for economic cohorts once it scaled up to 1120 returned travellers a week.

That figure was cut back to 1000 after the federal government rejected the initial proposal.

A Victorian university-backed plan recently proposed flying about 1000 foreign students into Melbourne every two to three weeks on chartered flights.

It comes as Victoria recorded no new local cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday from almost 17,000 test results, marking 60 days without any community transmission in the state.

All passengers who shared a Perth to Melbourne flight with a COVID-19 infected man last Wednesday have now tested negative.

They are among thousands of people currently isolating in Victoria after returning from Western Australia, which emerged from a three-day lockdown on Tuesday.

2 min read
Published 27 April 2021 at 11:00am
Source: AAP, SBS