Recently the Australian Prime Minister confirmed vaccinated Australian residents will be able to book a holiday overseas in November on the provision their state reaches the 80% double vaccination rate. Unfortunately, the reciprocal overseas holidaymakers will not be able to enter Australia until next year. After Australians are allowed to return home over the coming weeks, Mr Morrison has confirmed the next priority will be allowing fully vaccinated international students and skilled migrants back in. Those on a mere vacation will have to wait.
The strict regime has witnessed Australian immigration plummet to its lowest rate since the 1940s, bringing disastrous effects for Australian universities that rely on the billions of dollars international students bring. Now the education sector fears these students may enrol in other countries such as the UK and US unless Australia opens its borders soon. Notably, the Australian Tourism Export Council is calling for borders to open by March. The tourism sector made $A45 billion a year from international tourists before the pandemic. Therefore, it’s no surprise experts are calling for the elimination of airline seat caps and all associated hurdles, including access to rapid testing.
Major destinations such as Canada, the US, and Europe have all lifted quarantine requirements for international arrivals. The time has come for Australia to adopt a similar approach and reopen the borders that have been shut for 19-months. This is essential for moving on and emerging from one of the darkest chapters in Australian history.