Australia’s federal government will allow returning Australian citizens, residents, and their family members who are vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter New South Wales from November, but not international students, skilled migrants, and business travelers.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison reiterated that Australia will not open to everyone at the moment, Erudera.com reports.
“We are not opening up to everyone coming back to Australia at the moment. I want to be clear about that,” Morrison said at a press conference.
From next month, international arrivals fully vaccinated with one of the COVID-19 vaccines recognized by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), which include Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac, and Covishield, will not face restrictions to enter Australia.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said on Friday that as of November 1, fully vaccinated people entering New South Wales will not be required to complete quarantine, including those coming from abroad. These individuals will merely have to perform a COVID-19 test before arrival or show proof of immunization, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The state is planning to allow 210 unvaccinated people to enter, but the latter will be obliged to complete the 14 day quarantine.
Following the latest decision to recognize Coronavac (Sinovac) and Covishield vaccines for international travelers, the Chief Executive of the Group of Eight (Go8), Vicki Thomson, said that it is a milestone for a smooth transition over international students’ return to campus when conditions allow.
“They have stuck by our world class universities during the pandemic with the expectation that they can eventually be back in Australia to resume their studies on campus,” Thomson said.
NSW recently announced its pilot plan on the return of international students, under which plan, a total of 500 international students are expected to arrive in Sydney by December this year. Students will also have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with one of the vaccines recognized by TGA.
However, some international students stuck abroad have recently expressed worries about the cost of returning and the government prioritizing more students enrolled in medicine and engineering courses.
New Generation Network Scholar in Education at the University of Melbourne, Andrew Deuchar, told Erudera that Australia should at least reopen borders to international students who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, are enrolled in courses at recognized providers, or will be able to undergo 14-days quarantine.
“Unfortunately, there is not much of a political appetite to implement such as strategy given the number of Australian citizens who are stranded abroad and are unable to return home,” he added.
It has been more than 500 days now since Australia banned thousands of international students from entering the country, by closing its borders on March 20, 2020.