Visa Crunch

A glimmer of hope for international students enrolled or wishing to enrol in courses in Australia, as the government asks for medical counsel on opening borders.

Scott Morrison, the Prime Minister of Australia, said on Friday that the government is requesting recommendations from a medical advisory group on the preconditions that must be met for Australia’s international borders to reopen, allowing vaccinated citizens to fly abroad and return being subject to hotel confinement. He said,” “That will be a major change and to the extent to which Australians returning from overseas who have had recognised vaccines also approved here in Australia with appropriate accreditation can return to Australia on that same basis and to enable potentially down the track travel from low-risk countries with similar vaccine arrangements.”

However, he also advised taking this announcement with a pinch of salt, as any concrete plans yet remain to be formulated. He said, “No one is saying that any of those things are coming in today but what we are working and planning for and have tasked the medical professionals who advise us on is what are the marks we have to meet to enable us to start opening up Australia more than we are now.”

He also added, “I have mentioned Singapore before as an obvious next choice but at this stage, it is still some time away. The message from National Cabinet is we want to open up more, we want to do it safely, we want to ease restrictions, we want to do that in a consistent way across the country…” For temporary visa holders stuck in India, Australia’s proposal to eventually relax border controls with low-risk countries provides “cautious” hope.

Mr Morrison also said that, in addition to medical counsel, the decision to open international borders and encourage more immigrants to return to the country is dependent on how many Australians are vaccinated over time. He added, “The more Australians who are vaccinated, the more likelihood there is of being able to have the types of arrangements that I mentioned. If the vaccination population is lower, then that of course limits to options of borders, and of the other things that we’ve spoken about.”

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