Given recent news that a COVID-19 vaccination will be available in Australia as early as March 2021, it seems international travel restrictions could be lifted sooner than anticipated.
In last month’s Federal Budget announcements, the Government indicated Australia’s international border would be closed until late 2021, based on the assumption that a COVID-19 vaccination would only be widely available at that time.
News of a vaccination breakthrough has fast-tracked the prospect of international travel and on Friday 13 November 2020 at the National Cabinet meeting, State, Territory and Commonwealth leaders discussed a plan to re-open Australia’s international borders.
The Government has already permitted New Zealand residents to travel to some Australian States without quarantine and is now considering how it might expand the travel bubble to other countries that have effectively controlled COVID-19.
COVID-19 Vaccination and International Travel | Early Indications of Low-Risk and High-Risk Countries
Prime Minister, Scott Morrison signalled that Australia’s international borders may remain closed to high-risk countries while talks are underway to establish travel with countries with a low risk of community transmissions.
Mr Morrison said the Government is continuing discussions to relax travel rules with ‘low-risk’ countries, particularly in Asia. He indicated that this may include:
- Pacific Island nations
- Provinces of China
“(We) are looking at what alternative could be had to channel visitors through appropriate quarantine arrangements for low-risk countries,” Mr Morrison said.
Mr Morrison did not identify which countries could be deemed high risk, but he acknowledged the new wave of COVID-19 cases in Europe and the United States.
He stressed that no decisions had been made at this stage and that the Government would move “with caution” before opening up further. It is encouraging that plans to ease international travel restrictions were discussed at the National Cabinet within only a week of the COVID-19 vaccination breakthrough being announced.
Interstaff | Migration to Australia in the COVID-19 Era
For more insights on recent immigration changes in Australia, have a read of our dedicated series on ‘Australia’s Migration Program in the COVID-19 Era’:
We look forward to sharing Part 3 with you soon. If you have any queries about your visa circumstances or options, we encourage you to get in touch with Interstaff’s Registered Migration Agents.