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International students returning after almost two years separated from Australian campuses during the pandemic will hopefully be the first of many, says the head of the nation’s peak university body.

The contingent has arrived on flights touching down in Sydney and Melbourne from Singapore as part of the two-way travel bubble between the two countries.

None of the fully vaccinated passengers are required to enter quarantine.

Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson says the students are the first from overseas since small numbers returned in November last year.

“Universities have worked closely with government and health authorities for more than 18 months on plans to safely welcome back our international friends,” she said on Sunday.

“Around 130,000 international students remain outside Australia and they are all very eager to re-join their classmates.”

Those landing on Sunday will be joined on 7 December by about 500 others as part of a NSW government initiative.

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