The restrictions imposed on international travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic have resulted in Australian immigration reaching its lowest levels since World War II. As a result, the education sector worries that students might decide to enroll in other countries, unless Australia decides to open its borders to them. Australian universities rely heavily on fees paid by international students. Hence, the Government has made a decision to allow skilled migrants and international students to enter before tourists.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that Australia was expected to soon reach the vaccination benchmark that had been set, for the country to begin to open up. It is expected that next week, 80 per cent of the population aged 16 and older would have completed their second shot of the vaccine.
He also said that international tourists will not be welcomed back to Australia until next year.
To begin with, the Prime Minister has set plans under way to allow vaccinated citizens and permanent residents to fly overseas from November. This will be for the first time since Australia’s tough travel ban that was imposed in March 2020.
After the return of Australians, the next priority would be skilled migrants and international students entering Australia. Skilled migrants and students are required to be double vaccinated.
Tourists would be last in line. The Australian Tourism Export Council, which has made 45 billion Australian dollars ($33 billion) a year from international tourists before the pandemic set in, has requested that tourists could be allowed in by March 2022.
As an outbreak of the more contagious delta variant that began in Sydney in June continues to spread, Australia is racing to inoculate its population.