According to Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt, the country’s borders will reopen on December 15 to eligible visa holders, including overseas students and skilled migrants.
When asked about the timeline, Hunt told the reporters on December 13 that the reopening was on track.
“Yes, we are on track — that was reconfirmed over the weekend,” he said. “That reopening is scheduled — will be going ahead in consultation with the prime minister, the National Cabinet discussion, and the advice from the chief medical officer.”
Considering fears about the Covid-19 Omicron variant, the federal government announced on November 29 that the reopening of Australia’s border would be delayed from December 1 to December 15.
Australian Trade and Tourism Minister Dan Tehan stated last week in an update on Australia’s international borders that the reopening is “on track” for December 15.
On the other hand, Hunt had previously declined to make any guarantees that Australia’s border would open up to international students and visa holders in mid-December. The Australia international border update states that international boundaries will reopen to international skilled and student visa holders, as well as humanitarian, working holiday, and temporary family visa holders, beginning December 15, according to media reports.
The relaxation of constraints would mean that fully vaccinated visa holders would no longer need to obtain an exemption to enter the country, according to the announcement.
Australia’s reopening of international borders on Wednesday will also apply to international students, eligible visa holders, and Japanese and South Korean tourists. Approximately 250 international students returned to the country on December 6 under the New South Wales International Student Arrival Plan, amidst closed borders.
Prime Minister, Morrison confirmed the “encouraging” news with South Korean President Moon Jae-in during a press conference on December 13. International students from about 15 nations participated in the pilot program, including Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea, China, and Canada.
On December 24, a second flight carrying students is scheduled to arrive in Sydney.
India has also announced an agreement with Australia to resume commercial passenger flights after regular international flights were halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. India’s civil aviation ministry has also announced the establishment of an air bubble with Australia, under which Australian nationals and those with valid visas who are eligible to enter Australia/New Zealand will be allowed to travel.
This is for the airlines to ensure that there are no travel restrictions for Indian/Nepali/Bhutanese nationals entering the destination country prior to issuing a ticket/boarding pass.
The border re-opening postponement cost international students who had booked flights and accommodations in the first few weeks of December significant money. The government has stated that arrivals must abide by the requirements of the state or territory of their arrival as well as any other states or territories to which they intend to travel.