But When will the borders open?
In response to COVID, the Australian Government decided to close the borders to non-Australian citizens or permanent residents. The border is still very much closed (with every country with the exemption of New Zealand). Fortunately, the COVID situation has improved dramatically in Australia and it looks like a vaccine is on the way. In Australia, many restrictions have been lifted. Restaurants, pubs and gyms have opened in most states in Australia.
Qantas opening international flights for July
Qantas (Australia’s national airline) is beginning the new year with a note of optimism on the prospects of vaccination and preflight COVID-19 testing helping to restart international travel. Previously, Qantas was only offering international flights to New Zealand. Please note, other airlines are currently running minimal flights to and from Australia.
The airline has now reopened bookings across its entire overseas network for travel from July 1, 2021. This includes flights to the USA and London. This is certainly a promising sign for anyone looking to enter Australia.
Vaccine rollout in Aus brought forward to Feb
The rollout of a coronavirus vaccine in Australia will be brought forward to next month, with the Prime Minister saying the first groups are expected to receive a jab in mid-to-late-February. By the end of March its target is to have four million people inoculated.
Who will be allowed to enter first?
The Australian Government has indicated that international students will be among the first allowed to enter Australia. The Universities are desperate for the borders to open and putting a lot of pressure on the government to open the borders. International education is critically important to the Australian economy. However, the government have given no clear indication when this will be.
There are a lot of different stories in the news. Recently the Australian Government has announced that several universities have been allowed to provide a PILOT Program, read more. This will allow universities to charter flights from countries with low cases of COVID (most likely in Asia) to enter for the July intake.
If these pilot programs are successful, this will provide a lot clearer pathway for students to enter Australia. The government would surely intend to have International students from many countries come back to Australia for 2021.
How will it work?
When COVID began, Australia closed borders to certain countries with high rates of COVID. I think Australia will also most likely open their borders to students from countries will low rates of COVID. This will most likely start with countries like NZ, China, Japan and Korea. One would expect this to be extended to western European countries as COVID cases decrease there. There have also been talks about potentially opening the borders quicker to those who have been vaccinated. But nothing is set in stone.
Please note, this situation is unprecedented and clearly can change at any time. Vaccines could be brought out or other things like this which could result in a lot quicker opening of the borders.
We can appreciate that anyone stuck overseas would like to have this resolved as quickly as possible. And we will ensure that we keep you updated as soon as we hear any updates.
What if I already have a visa and are stuck offshore?
If you are stuck offshore, you can apply for a request to enter form from immigration. You can access the form here.
Many of these requests are being refused, but it is hoped in the future that these will be allowed.
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In case of questions, feel free to reach out to one of our experienced Registered Migration Agents.
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