Victorian universities recently re-proposed a previously conceived plan to get international students back under a similar model used to fly in tennis players for the Australian Open. Under the proposal, universities would help pay for around 1,000 foreign students to be flown into Melbourne every two to three weeks and placed into special lockdown arrangements. Similar plans to get international students back have been considered in various states since borders closed in March last year – and then quietly shelved. So far, only the Northern Territory has been able to bring 63 students to Australia. But 63 students is an almost negligible number compared to how many visa holders are still stranded outside the country — an estimated 30% of 542,106 (or around 160,000) student visa holders were outside Australia as of January 10 2021. In February, Phil Honeywood, the CEO of the International Education Association of Australia, expressed uncharacteristic desperation in his monthly email to members. He wrote: “When we directly lobby our federal politicians to promote student return plans, we are told that state/territory governments have full control of quarantine and we have to persuade them first. However, our discussions with state and territory politicians invariably produce the response that because the federal government controls Border Force, the ADF and international airport arrival caps, they are the ones actually in control.