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Live Updates

Open Borders Live lets you discover the latest news on migration, border status, coming to Australia, and much more, brought to you on a daily basis!

International students could soon be allowed to return to NSW

23 JUN 2021

As per the media reports, Australia might open borders for international students under the new ‘traffic light’ border system.

Australia expected to open borders for international students - According to SkyNews, Australia could use a 'green light, red light' international border system to reopen educational institutions for international students. Under this 'traffic light' system, all vaccinated students who don't pose any health risk will be allowed into the country.

Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, exclaimed recently that the country will be getting compatible vaccination recognition systems. Reportedly, this would be a crucial step in setting up travel bubbles potentially with Singapore, Japan, and South Korea.

In May 2021, Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said Australians will not be able to travel abroad until later in 2022. He even stated that the international borders will likely remain shut till next year.

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Students may be back in NSW by July 2021

10 JUN 2021

International students could soon be allowed to return to NSW under a pilot program slated to begin in the second half of this year.

The NSW Government announced on Thursday that 250 students would be welcomed per fortnight from mid-year as part of the trial.

On arrival the students will be required to quarantine in purpose-built student accommodation under the same rules for all international arrivals, NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said in a statement. The plan will go to the federal government for review.

Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge said the plan "appears to meet the criteria we have set, but we will work through the details carefully".

"We are keen to see international students return to Australia, but we don’t want to risk further COVID outbreaks in Australia," he told SBS News in a statement.

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COVID vaccine passports may not be enough for reopening Australia’s international borders

24 MAY 2021

The federal government is in negotiations with airlines over a global coronavirus vaccine passport, but a leading epidemiologist has cautioned that before international borders reopen, Australia must inoculate at least 85 percent of the population against COVID-19.

Some health experts have slammed Prime Minister Scott Morrison's plan to create a vaccine app for interstate travel, instead urging the government to help fix the hotel quarantine system.

The government is in negotiations with the International Air Transport Organization, which represents 290 of the world's airlines, to use their vaccine passport scheme to allow for quarantine-free travel.

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States considering plan to bring international students back

20 MAY 2021

In Victoria, the government is working on a proposal with education providers and the federal government to make it easier for foreign students to return “when conditions permit.”

“To endorse this programme, the Victorian government has sent a letter to the Australian government that would allow for the safe arrival of key economic cohorts, including foreign students, to help Victoria and Australia recover economically,” a spokesperson told The PIE News.

“In addition to the current international passenger arrival cap, the plan will see a small number of arrivals per week.

To insure the health and safety of our group, quarantine will be handled separately in a dedicated facility that adheres to the specifications of Victoria's hotel quarantine programme for returning overseas travellers.

“It's impossible to say when foreign students will be able to return to Victoria in significant numbers.”

“It's impossible to say when foreign students will be able to return to Victoria in large numbers. This will be determined by health recommendations, vaccine rollout, and other variables that must be weighed in order to insure the community's safety,” they added..

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Australian Government hardens stance on border reopening

18 MAY 2021

Ms Hrdlicka said that as Australia's vaccination campaign progresses, the country must learn to live with COVID-19 and embrace the difficulties it will carry.

The Virgin Australia CEO said, "We need to get the borders open for our own health and for the economy." “We forget that over the years, we have learned to live with a variety of viruses and threats, and the government must learn to live with this as well, and no later than June 2022.”

“Because we aren't exposed to the diseases and challenges that the rest of the world is grappling with, we will all be sicker than we have ever been before.”

Ms Hrdlicka said as a consequence, people might die. But the CEO said those numbers will be smaller than the numbers who die each year from influenza. Jayne Hrdlicka argues the Australian Government lives with that yearly outcome.

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Scott Morrison fends off calls to reopen border as medical association urges ‘plan for 2022"

17 MAY 2021

As the peak medical association supports demands for a “plan for 2022” that would see Australia reopen to the rest of the world, Prime Minister Scott Morrison is fending off mounting pressure to reopen Australia's borders earlier than next year.

Following last week's budget, which assumed that Australia's borders will remain closed until mid-next year, the Morrison government has been bombarded with demands for a faster reopening of borders and bolstering of quarantine facilities from industry, academia, and within the Coalition.

Morrison has also faced criticism over the vaccination programme, admitting on Tuesday that the government needed to "step up" its attempts to vaccinate people in disability treatment after it was reported that only 4% of these people had received the vaccine.

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Federal budget 2021 suggests international borders won't reopen until mid-next year

13 MAY 2021

The international border is expected to remain closed until mid-2022, and a quarantine policy will continue to be in operation, restricting overseas arrivals, according to the budget estimates.

While some foreign travel can begin earlier, the budget papers suggest that there will be a time lag between when borders completely reopen and when all Australians have access to COVID-19 vaccines.

The budget assumes a population-wide vaccine programme will be "in effect" by the end of the year, but it doesn't specify how many people will be vaccinated.”

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There are “three principles” on a roadmap to reopening Australia to the rest of the world

10 MAY 2021

There are “three principles” on a roadmap to reopening Australia to the rest of the world, Health Minister Greg Hunt says.

Australia’s borders were slammed shut at the height of the pandemic last year and, until recently, international travel had been all but impossible.

But as the vaccine rollout ramps up, Hunt says, Australians should be looking forward to reopening soon.

How soon, he said, depends on three criteria.

“First, there's the concept of green lanes, which is currently working well in New Zealand... and that capability can be extended to the Pacific, possibly Singapore, and possibly other countries.

“Then there's the vaccine programme itself, as well as its spread and the numbers we're seeing are growing."

“Third, we're looking at a progressive capacity, based on medical advice, for those who have been vaccinated to have easier passage out and easier passage in when it comes to border openings.”

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International students can now work up to 40 hrs in Tourism and Hospitality

7 MAY 2021

The federal government has confirmed budget reforms that will help international students employed in the tourism and hospitality sector in getting back on their feet after being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year.

Though students may not be able to come or return to Australia to study if the international border remains closed until 2022, the government is encouraging those who are already here to work longer hours.

For the time being, the previous fortnightly cap of 40 hours of work for foreign student visa holders working in hospitality and tourism will be lifted.

Students are now allowed to work more than 40 hours per week in sectors such as hospitality and tourism.

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Australians who fly home from India during COVID-19 ban risk jail, hefty fines

4 MAY 2021

Australian citizens in virus-stricken India could face hefty fines up to $66,000 and even jail time if they try to return home.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt this morning confirmed a temporary pause on travellers will come into effect on Monday.

The penalties are being invoked under the Biosecurity Act to stop people coming here from India via other countries such as Singapore or the United Arab Emirates.

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Borders closed to international students until states present 'satisfactory' plans

29 APR 2021

Education Minister Alan Tudge says the federal government will not consider opening up the borders to international students until the state governments present plans which satisfy and go "above and beyond" current federal quarantine criteria.

"We want to get international students back into Australia at some stage," he told Sky News host Chris Kenny.

"But we're just not in the position at the moment to open up our borders generally, let alone for international students - we have the quarantine arrangements in place primarily for returning Australians.

"I've said, the prime minister has said, if the state governments present to us plans for quarantine arrangements for international students which satisfy the criteria which we have laid out - which includes quarantine arrangements above and beyond those for returning Australia, it includes the sign off from the chief medical officer - then we will take a look at that."

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Victoria plans to bring back international students by next month

27 APR 2021

Victoria is planning to welcome back international students and workers next month under a state government plan to support its COVID-19 economic recovery.

The plan would allow the State 120 arrivals a week from the 24th May including international students and workers required for events or stage/screen productions.

The arrivals will be held in a separate hotel quarantine facility for returning Australians. .

The scheme will work under a "industry/user pays model" funded by related sectors such as tertiary institutes, screen productions and leading event organisers, supplying finance for operating expenses in a letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Acting Prime Minister, James Merlino.

The cost of the quarantine scheme was "over" the $3,000 premium charged by returning Australians for one adult. By consulting industry concerned, a final fee will be set.

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Australia's COVID vaccine rollout speed needs to double for borders to reopen within a year

26 APR 2021

Australia will need to double the speed of its COVID-19 vaccine rollout in order to safely open its international border within 12 months, epidemiologists have warned.

People entering Australia from abroad have had to complete two weeks' hotel quarantine since March 2020, in a move that has seen the Lucky Country avoid the worst of the pandemic.

This week, quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand began and Qantas boss Alan Joyce has previously stated he's hoping more travel bubbles will be introduced this year.

However, two leading epidemiologists have said that's unlikely to happen, and warned the majority of Australians will need to be vaccinated before international borders can be safely reopened.

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19 APR 2021

Quarantine travel bubble opens between Australian and New Zealand

There've been hugs and tears on both sides of the Tasman today as long separated families and loved ones, were finally reunited this morning as the New Zealand Travel Bubble came to life.

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Australian states considers return of international students in 2021

18 APR 2021

New South Wales and Victoria, usually the two Australian states that host the largest cohort of international students, are drawing up plans to bring back their share of international students from their home countries where they have been stranded for months together due to the border closure of March 2020.

The New South Wales Government is planning to establish an alternative quarantine program for international students to facilitate their return in late 2021, in its latest response to the state’s tumbling revenue of its vital $14.6 billion-worth overseas education industry.

Revealing the details of the proposal, a spokesperson for NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, said that the state is developing a plan to revive the international student and education sector within the context of the current quarantine system.

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Qantas planning for October overseas flights as planes fill up

15 APR 2021

Qantas starts to take to the air and plans to restore international flights by October, but the airline remains in difficulty, CEO Alan Joyce warns.

Lockdowns in the financial year 2020 to 2021 have so far cost the airline a total of 429 million dollars, with a total of 400 million dollars as a result of closures during the peak Christmas New Year.

"The vaccination program is absolutely key to restarting international flights in and out of Australia," he said.

"While there have clearly been some speedbumps with the vaccine rollout, we are still planning for international flights to resume in late October."

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Scott Morrison says that the vaccine rollout had experienced difficulties

15 APR 2021

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison acknowledged the difficulty of the vaccination program and outlined his intention to focus on the initiative of mass vaccination clinics in States and territories to insure the full safety of Australians by the end of the year, with the overall arrival of 40 million Pfizer doses in the last quarter.

In a Perth interview, Mr. Morrison said that as soon the latest doses of the vaccine became available, he will consult with the states and territories to determine the right way for mass vaccination.

He has raised the ambition of vaccinating all Australians by the end of the year, so long as Pfizer and CSL local vaccinations in partnership with AstraZeneca have secured imported doses.

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13 APR 2021

International borders might not open fully until 2024: Deloitte

A new report by Deloitte suggests that Australians could be waiting until 2024 to properly travel overseas again and hotel quarantine will remain in place for some time.

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Australian government seeks expert medical advice on opening international borders

9 APR 2021

Mr Morrison said on Friday that the government is awaiting recommendations from a medical advisory group on the preconditions that must be met before Australia's international borders will reopen, allowing vaccinated people to go abroad and return without needing to stay in a hotel quarantine.

“That would be a significant difference in terms of the degree to which Australians returning from overseas who have had recognised vaccinations accepted here in Australia with sufficient accreditation will return to Australia on the same basis, as well as the possibility for future travel from low-risk countries with identical vaccination arrangements,” he said.

Mr Morrison went on to say that the popularity of the Trans-Tasman travel bubble would pave the way for other countries to join Australia in creating secure travel zones.

"I've listed Singapore as an obvious next destination before, but it's still a long way off at this point." The message from National Cabinet is that we want to open up further, but we want to do so safely, with less controls, and in a clear manner around the country...” he said.

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Australia and New Zealand to start quarantine-free travel in April

6 APR 2021

Australian and New Zealand residents will be able to travel between the two nations without having to quarantine from 19 April. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the move on Tuesday.

Since October, New Zealand travellers have been allowed to enter most Australian states without quarantine, though this had not been reciprocated.

Both nations have since contained Covid outbreaks and kept infection rates near zero. The countries shut their borders in March last year and brought in compulsory quarantine for returning nationals. When outbreaks have emerged, both Australia and New Zealand have instated lockdowns to halt the virus from spreading.

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Students will not be back until 2022

31 MAR 2021

The Australian government drops major hint about when international borders will open as Education Minister is expected to announce foreign students will be back in the start of 2022.

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Brisbane enters snap three-day lockdown

29 MAR 2021

Following the discovery of four new locally-acquired coronavirus outbreaks, a number of states have closed their borders to Queenslanders. Greater Brisbane has been put under a three-day lockdown.

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Easing of restrictions in NSW

29 MAR 2021

Effective 29 March 2021, the number of people allowed to visit at home or gather outdoors has increased. The capacity for businesses and venues has been increased and entertainment venues can operate at 100 percent seated capacity. Restrictions on singing, dancing and nightclubs have been lifted.

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International flights into Melbourne to resume after Easter

25 MAR 2021

Initially, Victoria will take 800 passengers a week before increasing to 1,120 people.

Acting Premier James Merlino said Victoria would advocate to National Cabinet for a "small proportion" of those passengers to be set aside for "economic cohorts".

He said that might involve around 120 places a week to cover things like international film crews, workers needed for energy and infrastructure projects, or international students.

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Australia looking for ways to allow foreign students to return

24 MAR 2021

Australia is desperately exploring ways to reboot its international education sector, including allowing vaccinated students from Singapore to re-enter or creating special student-only flights and quarantine facilities.

The country's international student sector was worth about A$40 billion in 2019, making it the fourth-biggest export. But the Covid-19 pandemic has caused incoming student numbers to plunge.

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Australia needs temporary visa holders back "as soon as possible."

18 MAR 2021

Australia's newly-appointed Immigration Minister Alex Hawke says the government is planning to allow migrants and visitors back into the country as soon as possible. In an interview with SBS News, Mr Hawke discussed the impacts of COVID-19 on migration and post-pandemic Australia.

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Travel Bubble: Australia-Singapore

14 MAR 2021

Australian and Singapore governments are currently in talks to negotiate a travel bubble between the two countries, which could be in affect by July at the earliest.

Under the plan, vaccinated Australians and Singaporeans would be able to travel freely for work, study or holiday purposes without the mandated two-week hotel quarantine.

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