December 9, 2022

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Australia to ease border ban on some foreign citizens

Image Courtesy: BBC News

Australia has announced that it will begin easing restrictions on foreigners entering the nation, with certain groups receiving priority.

Australia has announced that it will begin easing restrictions on foreigners entering the nation, with certain groups receiving priority.

From December 1, skilled migrants and international students, as well as citizens of Japan and South Korea, will be granted access.

All participants must be properly immunised.

Since March of last year, Australia has instituted some of the world’s strictest border controls, including on its own residents.

The statement on Monday was hailed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison as a “important step forward.”

Eligible visa holders will be able to return to Australia without requiring a specific exception under the new guidelines.

The government estimates that 200,000 people will travel between December and January.

“Skilled workers and student cohorts, as well as refugees, humanitarians, temporary and provisional visa holders, are all eligible,” Karen Andrews, Minister for Home Affairs, said.

She noted that they must return a negative Covid test within three days of arriving.

South Koreans and Japanese who are fully vaccinated and have a valid visa will also be able to enter without having to go through quarantine.

Since meeting immunisation targets, the country has commenced a phased re-opening. Over 85% of Australians over the age of 16 are now completely vaccinated.

The pandemic’s suffocating grip on international travel has exposed Australia’s economic reliance on overseas workers and students.

In 2019, Australia’s foreign education sector brought in an estimated A$40 billion (£21 billion; $29 billion), making it the country’s fourth-largest export behind iron ore, coal, and gas.

Until recently, Australia prohibited even its own citizens from leaving the nation, a policy known as “Fortress Australia.”

The programme was commended for assisting in the suppression of Covid, but it also resulted in the controversial separation of families.

The policy was only loosened in November of this year, allowing vaccinated citizens and their relatives to enjoy long-awaited freedoms.

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