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Australia’s plans for international border reopening

After almost 600 days of pandemic closure, Australia has lifted its international travel ban on November 1 for the first time. This allowed its citizens, as well as permanent residents in New South Wales, Victoria, and the capital Canberra to finally travel overseas without the need of an exemption – provided they are fully vaccinated.

The high vaccination rates in Australian states has led to this development. As of November 13, 83% of people in Australia over the age of 16 are fully vaccinated, and 90.4% of people over the age of 16 have received their first dose.

On November 5, Premier Mark McGowan announced that the reopening of Western Australia might happen around late January or early February when the vaccination target of 90% of the population aged 12 and older is reached.

Premier Steven Marshall said South Australia will re-open to the rest of the country on November 23 but only to fully vaccinated arrivals. Once the borders reopen, fully vaccinated South Australians will only need to quarantine for seven days if they are considered a close contact of a COVID-19 case. Children under the age of 12 are still not allowed to be vaccinated. Unvaccinated people against COVID-19 wanting to travel into South Australia will have to go through an approval process.

Meanwhile, temporary residents have urged the government to include them in the country’s reopening plan, but the Department of Home Affairs has not yet given any specific statements for their plans on temporary visa holders.

“We will then work with other cohorts. That includes our economic cohorts, so our skilled workers, being able to come into the country; then it will be international students; then we will be looking at travellers from overseas — so our tourists — being able to come back in.” Karen Andrews, Minister for Home Affairs told the ABC.

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