Trade Minister Says He Hopes International Students Can Return to Australia Before Year Ends

Dan Tehan

Australia will open borders for the returning Australian citizens, permanent residents, and their family members as of November 1, and the Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan said that he expects international students, migrant workers, and tourists will be able to return to the country before the year ends.

Tehan expressed optimism that Australia will have more options once there is full vaccination of 80 percent. He told the Sky News on Monday that returning Australians remain a priority.

“Then my view is that before Christmas we can start looking at the tourists, the international students, the working holidaymaker visa holders and our Pacific workforce,” Tehan told Sky News on Monday.

Australian citizens, permanent residents, and their immediate family members returning to New South Wales will not face quarantine restrictions after the borders open on November 1. 

Under New South Wales and Victoria programs on the return of international students, the latter are expected to return to the country by December this year; however, some international students are now concerned about the cost of returning and that students enrolled in engineering and medicine will be prioritized in terms of returning to the country.

Australia closed its borders on March 20 last year, meaning that international students have not been allowed to enter the country for 579 days now.

So far, there are 149,421 Coronavirus cases in Australia, 116,402 people have recovered while the country recorded a total of 1,577 deaths. Over 68 percent of people at the age of 16 and above are already fully vaccinated, whereas 84.8 percent have received only one dose of the vaccine.

“Having a vaccinated population particularly when we hit 80 per cent that means Australia will be able to open up, begin opening up to international travel again and there are three priorities; the first one is, of course, for Australians around the world to be able to come home if they are vaccinated and not be subject to any caps at our airports,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison previously said during a virtual press conference with Indian media.

The Australian government earlier told Erudera that it is working on a new strategy for the recovery of the international education sector affected by the pandemic.

According to a report by the Mitchell Institute for Education and Health Policy, Australia hosted 210,000 fewer international students last year compared to prior years. Nevertheless, data from the Department of Education suggested 69,427 fewer enrolments.

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