The date for opening the international borders was not confirmed in Australia’s National Cabinet meeting but reports indicate that the country’s borders may still reopen to international students and skilled workers next week.
In a statement, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “The Commonwealth continues to welcome Australian citizens, permanent residents and their families, New Zealand citizens, Singaporean citizens and other cohorts of travellers already approved for travel, including seasonal workers and international student pilots.”
The government intends to re-open the international borders to overseas students and skilled workers from December 15, said PM Scott Morrison. When questioned if the territories would open on that date on Friday, December 10, Morrison said the administration was “taking more advice at the moment, but that is certainly our disposition”. He intended to “keep moving forward, not back”.
When questioned if the territories would open on that date on Friday, Morrison said the administration was “taking more advice at the moment, but that is certainly our disposition”. He intended to “keep moving forward, not back“. But besides Morrison’s upbeat message, the federal government has decided that some procedures and protocols must remain in place for a longer period of time, according to a report by The Guardian.
Morrison stated that the National Cabinet had taken cognizance of the Commonwealth’s efforts to change Australia’s international border setups in a way that is compatible with a suppression approach and appropriate to the prevailing health information on Omicron. “As more evidence relating to disease severity, transmissibility, and vaccine effectiveness becomes available, the Commonwealth will continue to consider Australia’s international border settings in a manner consistent with a suppression strategy,” he said.
Australia had previously postponed the reopening of the border with Australia from December 1 to December 15 due to concerns about the Covid-19 Omicron variant.
Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt previously stated that he cannot guarantee that Australia’s border will reopen to international students and visa holders in mid-December. This stands in stark contrast to Trade and Tourism Minister Dan Tehan’s statement that the reopening of Australia’s international border to international students and skilled migrants is “on track” for December 15. The National Cabinet will convene once more in February 2022.
Amidst the postponement, some international students were able to travel to Australia through the International Student Arrivals Plan. The following Australian states have had their International Student Arrival Plans approved by the government:
- New South Wales
- South Australia
On December 6, approximately 250 international students returned to Sydney, with another group expected to return on December 24. Before returning to campus, students in Australia are required to be vaccinated against Covid-19 with one of the vaccines approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
]Students have also been instructed to adhere to quarantine and testing requirements, which vary by state. Australia has lost thousands of international students as a result of the pandemic, many of whom have considered other study destinations.
The country confirmed that it is developing a new international education strategy for the period 2021 to 2030 in order to entice more students to return to Australia as a study destination.