Berejiklian indicated she wants some 1,000 people to arrive weekly in order to support business in the state, beginning from January.

“A lot of our universities will have to actually axe jobs… especially regional universities”

“If we can’t bring in international students, universities will have to lose staff, lose jobs,” she said, as she urged more states to “lift their game” to increase the country’s quarantine capacity for both international students and Australian citizens.

“NSW would like to look at things that boost our economy… not just returning Aussies,” she said. “We would like to start that as soon as we can in the new year but obviously that’s up to the federal government to let us do that.”

The prime minister of Australia Scott Morrison recently said that priority would be given to citizens and residents at the country’s border.

“If other states lifted their game and had more returning Aussies, that would allow the economic powerhouse of NSW to bring back students and keep universities employing people,” Berejiklian added.

“A lot of our universities will have to actually axe jobs if we don’t [open borders], especially regional universities, I don’t want to see that happen,” she said.

A leading education think tank recently calculated that the country could lose around 50% of its international student population by mid 2021 if the borders remain closed.

CEO of International Education Association of Australia Phil Honeywood added that the state has been been accepting 80% of all returning Australian citizens.

“Time for other states to do some heavy lifting so international students can return!” he wrote on Twitter.

International students have also started a petition calling for Australia to help its international students return to the country due to the “extreme stress” they have endured since Morrison urged international students to consider returning home if they could not support themselves in the country.

As part of NSW government’s Covid-19 economic recovery, more than $273.6 million to be invested through to June 2024 – $18.2 million of which will go to Study NSW to support the state’s international education sector.

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