Visa Crunch

Australia: Re-Opening Of Borders For International Students, Skilled Immigrants “On-Track” From December 15

Australia’s Trade and Tourism Minister, Dan Tehan told Sky News Australia that the restoration of Australia’s international border to overseas students and skilled migrants is “on track” for December 15.

The country had already postponed the reopening of Australia’s border from December 1 to December 15 due to worries about the Covid-19 Omicron variant.

It comes two weeks after the reopening was postponed due to the development of the Covid-19 Omicron variant. “Obviously, [the] National Cabinet will convene on December 10,” Tehan told the press, “but everything we’re seeing from this new version leads to the fact that we should be able to progress on the 15th.”

“Which is wonderful news for Australia’s tourism industry, wonderful news for universities, wonderful news for all those businesses looking for that workforce that’s really going to help springboard us out of the pandemic.”

Overseas students in Australia have been waiting almost two years for the country’s borders to restart and have been disappointed by the lack of clarity about when they would be able to return.

Australia’s Health Minister, Greg Hunt recently stated there are no promises that Australia’s border will reopen to overseas students and visa holders in mid-December. “I’m certainly not making any guarantees,” Hunt told the press when asked if the pause on international arrivals would definitely end after December 15. “It’s our intention at the end of that period, subject to the science and medical advice, to return to the previous settings. It will depend on the international evidence.”

The CEO of Universities Australia, Catriona Jackson told Study International that the pandemic’s closing of the international borders caused a drop in first-year students. This scenario will improve as we slowly reopen in preparation for the first semester of 2022.

Australia offers world-renowned universities and a very desired lifestyle to match the education experience, in combination with the high vaccination rates and health response to the pandemic.

Despite the pandemic’s consequences, international students studying at Australia’s institutions have evaluated their experience living in the country at record high levels. Jackson stated that she is “confident” that the universities will continue to attract students from more than 140 nations who studied in Australia prior to the pandemic.

Australia welcomed the largest group of international students returning to the country since the country’s borders were blocked nearly two years ago on Monday. Around 250 students returned to New South Wales (NSW) as part of a pre-planned pilot program, and visa holders should be able to enter Australia next week.

The federal government said that emergency powers would be extended for another two months, until February 2022, keeping compulsory mask wearing for international flights and limitations on foreign travel from high-risk nations in place.

The consequences of the Omicron form of Covid-19 were at the top of the agenda for the year’s final national cabinet meeting, but PM Morrison said his government was leaning toward reopening to international students and skilled workers on December 15.

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