Plan to welcome back our international students

We’ve been working closely with the New South Wales State Government (NSW) to bring international students back to campus through the NSW International Student Arrivals Plan.

Last update: 23 November 2021


The plan is a joint undertaking between the State Government, Study NSW and all NSW universities. On 24 September the NSW Government announced that the plan had been approved by the Australian Government to proceed.

Initially, the plan will see approximately 500 international students return to NSW on two pilot flights in December 2021, followed by an evaluation before scaling to larger intakes from early 2022.

Update on Border Policy

The Australian Government announced on 22 November 2021 that fully vaccinated international students will be welcomed back into the country from 1 December, without the need to apply for a travel exemption or stay in quarantine.

As there may be some shortage in seat availability as Australia opens up, the International Student Arrivals Program will go ahead as planned. International students who are returning under the NSW International Student Arrivals Pilot Plan will still travel to Sydney on their scheduled flights. For more information, please visit the Study NSW website.

Eligibility to return under the International Student Arrivals Program

Given the small scale of the pilot flights in December and subsequent flights from January 2022, eligible students who will be able to return to Australia through the International Student Arrivals Plan will be contacted directly by the University. To be as fair and equitable as possible, the University will give priority to students who meet all of the following criteria:

  • are nearing completion of their degree and need to complete compulsory face-to-face classes on-campus, or complete compulsory practical and internship components in Session 1, 2022 in Australia as per their degree requirement
  • hold a valid Australian Student Visa
  • have sufficient funds for the duration of their studies in Australia and do not have any outstanding fees owed to the University
  • have been fully vaccinated with a TGA-recognised vaccine. The current list of TGA recognised vaccines includes Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Janssen, Sinovac, Covishield, Sinopharm BIBP and Covaxin.
  • can meet flight schedule and take a COVID-19 PCR test (returning a negative result) three days before departure.

Flight booking and cost

Under the International Student Arrivals Plan, students will book their travel through FCM – the government-appointed travel agency.

FCM will arrange a mix of commercial and charter flights to pick up international students from key departure cities around the world. Students are required to arrange their own travel to one of those key departure cities.

The airfare for the flights organised by FCM will range from AU$1,500 - $5,000 depending on students' departure city. Students are required to pay the airfare and any other cost associated to travel to the key departure city.

Detailed information on flight schedules and travel booking will be communicated to eligible students directly.

Please refer to the FCM website for travel-related information. Please note that information is subject to change and Macquarie University cannot guarantee the accuracy of information published on external websites.

Please do not contact FCM unless you have been selected by Macquarie University to participate in the International Student Arrivals program.

Quarantine requirement

The NSW Government has announced on 12 November 2021 that it will not require international students to quarantine, including under the Pilot Plan, where students are fully vaccinated with a TGA recognised vaccine and the Australian Government has approved their travel to Australia. For more information, please visit the Study NSW website.

Return to campus

The University has designed a comprehensive engagement and wellbeing program to support students return to campus. Program details will be communicated to students before they depart for Sydney.

What if I want to travel to Australia by myself without participating in the International Student Arrivals Program?

Fully-vaccinated students who wish to travel to Australia on their own after 1 December can now plan their own travel to Australia. Please refer to the Australian Government’s official guidance on travel to Australia:

More information

Visit the Study NSW International Student Arrivals Plan site for more information.

Contact us

This webpage contains all currently available information. We will update this webpage when more details are confirmed.

We are currently experiencing a large volume of inquiries. Please read all the information thoroughly before contacting us and do not send us any documents unless we ask you to do so.

Please note that participation in the International Student Arrivals Plan is extremely limited and eligible students will be contacted directly by the University.

If you have any further questions, please contact the University’s Safe Arrival Team at safearrival@mq.edu.au.