The budget forecast prepared by the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann assumes that travel restrictions will be lifted between 1 January 2021 and 30 June 2021. However, policies regarding international travels are constantly evolving and changing.
Qantas has recently announced that it is set to recommence international flights on 31 October 2021. Qantas plans to relaunch most of its long-haul international flight by using 11 of its 787-9 aircrafts as well as their A330s. This change has been brought about due to the government’s roll out of the COVID-19 vaccinations. However, this is still subject to change.
This news would be welcome by many as it will allow temporary and permanent migrants to return to Australia. However, some incoming travellers may still be required to undergo two-week mandatory quarantine.
Victoria will resume its intake on international travellers from 8 April 2021. In the beginning, Victoria will take 800 passengers a week before moving the numbers up to 1120 people. Currently, three hotels are ready to take passengers however, other hotels are still being fitted with the properly ventilation. There are talks about quarantining passengers at home or quarantining passengers in a permanent quarantine site e.g., in Avalon or Tullamarine Airport, however these measures are not yet confirmed.
Since the implementation of international travel bans in March 2020, all arrivals on visitor and temporary migration visas have been prevented (exemptions apply). The ban also prevented Australian citizens and permanent residents from departing Australia (exemptions apply).
Based on the announced policy the current plan (Between July to December 2020), is to lift the travel ban for Australian citizens, permanent residents, New Zealanders and some international students. However, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg cautioned that the policy is subject to change due to the evolving situation of coronavirus.
“The assumptions are that it very gradually starts to come back, that quarantine is applied, that you start potentially bringing in international students,”
“Of course the environment with respect to the coronavirus is very fluid.”
“Decisions haven’t been taken about the start date for that.”
The key reason for this plan is to bring back international students who are stranded overseas. Continuous delay in bringing in students would affect universities drastically (even with the recent changes to support international students). The international education industry is the fourth-largest industry in Australia. Students bring approximately $39 billion into the Australian economy.
The budget forecast also predicted that the net overseas migration will fall to 31,000 in 2020-21. Net overseas migration is affected by international travel restrictions and constraints on the ability of applicants to meet visa application requirements, and is assumed to fall from 232,000 in 2018-19 to be 154,000 in 2019-20 and 31,000 in 2020-21.