Opening Australian Borders Is Not a Priority For Scott Morrison
Abdul Waheed | On 31, May 2021
After presenting the budget in the parliament, Scott Morrison maintained his stance on the closure of the Australian border to the rest of the world. Scott Morrison made it clear that his priority is to suppress the coronavirus situation in the country at present and not entertain migrants coming in. Morrison recognises that the pandemic is taking its toll on many countries globally. The reopening of borders would put Australia in an even tricky spot. The severity of the situation has increased compared to the last year because the current wave of COVID is more dangerous than the first one. So, it is a wise decision to keep the borders of Australia closed to immigrants and international students. The decision is in line with the positive results achieved by Australia as it has been rigorous when it comes to its border policies in the previous wave of the pandemic. Therefore, the government is not ready to take the risk by opening the borders.
The Prime Minister is going to maintain the ceiling of the Migration Program at 160,000 places. For the international students stuck home, Prime Minister Morrison says that he encourages universities to bring forward feasible plans to facilitate these students. He, however, added that providing quarantine to the students on the government budget was unreasonable. According to Morrison, it would be highly irrational if the government of Australia were to be held responsible for arranging the quarantine of the international students who manage to travel amidst the pandemic. He also added that the universities were the biggest beneficaries of gains brought by international students, and that univerities should come forward with proposals to help bring students into Australia. He maintains that the state governments are willing to engage with the universities in this situation and facilitate their decided quarantine measures.
Considering education is one of the biggest exports of Australia, the importance of international students coming to Australia cannot be undermined. According to Melbourne-based economist Vinod Mishra, negotiations are going on between universities and governments to reach a consensus regarding the health and quarantine issues posed by the incoming of international students. The process might be prolonged as the pandemic has affected nations worldwide. The perfection of rehabilitation process may take years to complete.
Amidst everything, the students are on the receiving end as even though most of them have managed to secure admissions at Australian universities, they have not been able to travel, which is very disappointing for them. Apart from the frustration, it could also adversely affect their learning experience once they reach Australia to pursue their intended studies. It is a tough scale to balance for the government where they have to stop the spread of the pandemic while protecting the rights of international students and immigrants.