The institutions attending the virtual Study in Australia expo from February 27-March 13 are targeting students from the East African region in particular, which includes the countries of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and beyond.

“We expect those we are recruiting currently to travel to Australia by August 2021 and February 2022”

Some of the 20 participating institutions include Deakin, Monash, Western Sydney, Charles Sturt and Edith Cowan universities. The event is running in partnership with placement agencies, with the hope of enroling pre-Covid-19 pandemic number of students this year.

The universities hope to enrol hundreds students during the exercise, and they have so far met more than 150 potential learners. They also project to interview hundreds by the end of the drive on March 13, said Farook Lalji, director of Kenya-based placement agency Koala Education Consultants, who is organising the event.

“Australian institutions have setup amazing virtual courses and some of our students have commenced studies online so far. We expect those we are recruiting currently to travel to Australia by August 2021 and February 2022,” Lalji told The PIE News.

Australia he said had done a “fantastic job” of controlling the Covid- 19 pandemic raising hopes that international students could be able to travel and sit studies in the country in the near future, he added.

“This is reflected by the parents who feel very secure in their children commencing studies online and then proceeding to Australia at a later date. The international student market has been hit worldwide and Australia is no exception. However, with their vaccine rollout and management of the virus, we know Australia will be a better place to study in the coming months,” he explained.

There is however no timeline for the current international student cohort to return to Australia as borders remain closed.

Australian universities are among the most popular for African students and placement agencies when compared to Western destinations such as Canada, due to what the agencies say are “favourable migration rules” that allow smooth entry of  hundreds of learners each year.

Australian immigration authorities issued papers to all students who had complied with student visa requirements without ‘discrimination’, making the country a popular destination for African students, Lalji noted.

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