Pakistan High Commissioner to Australia Babar Amin has offered a chartered flight of Pakistani students into NSW if the government allowed with special quarantine arrangements and has requested NSW government to give due priority to the Pakistani students.
He made the offer in a virtual meeting with Geoff Lee, NSW Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education on Monday.
The High Commissioner briefed the Minister about cooperation between Pakistan and Australia in Education sector.
“There was immense potential of growth in Education sector”, he said highlighting his engagement with various Australian Universities, especially in NSW.
A large part of Pakistani students as well as the community were located in New South Wales that were positively contributing to the development and people to people contacts between the two countries.
The High Commissioner also raised the issue of Pakistani students enrolled in different Universities and who were unable to join their universities in Australia due to the Covid-19 related travel restrictions.
While referring to the NSW’s plan for bringing students into Australia, the High Commissioner requested the Minister to give due priority to the Pakistani students.
Geoff Lee informed the High Commissioner that bringing back all international students in a phased manner, was priority of NSW government and under the pilot plan only 250 students will be brought per fortnight. The numbers will have to be subsequently increased. He assured to raise the issue of Pakistani students in Vice-Chancellors Committee.
Mr. Lee also offered to raise the issue within the NSW Task Force for students’ return to create a transit hub in the Middle East as well to facilitate Pakistani and other South Asian students.
He added that under current plan, NSW universities were tasked with arranging flights for students. However, NSW government will consider Pakistani proposal for a chartered flight in coordination with the universities.
The High Commissioner expressed his readiness in offering any assistance for bringing the students into Australia. He also briefed the Minister regarding improved Covid-19 situation in Pakistan, which was conducive for students’ return.