australia's international borders
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison clarified today that Australia is not reopening its international borders to “everyone”. Source: William West/AFP

Following the surprise announcement by New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet that the state would scrap hotel and home quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers entering the state, including international travellers, from November 1, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison clarified today that Australia’s international borders is not open to “everyone” yet.

New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet said the state was open for business “for double-vaccinated people around the world”, reported The Sydney Morning Herald. “We are not opening up to everyone coming back to Australia at the moment. I want to be clear about that,” Morrison was quoted saying.

“The Commonwealth government has made no decision to allow other visa holders, skilled visa holders, student visa holders, international visitors travelling under an ETA or other international visa arrangements … to come to Australia under these arrangements. The premier understands that that’s a decision for the Commonwealth government not for the state governments. And when we believe that’s the right decision to make, we will make it in that time.”

Australia's international borders

“We are not opening up to everyone coming back to Australia at the moment,” clarified Morrison about Australia’s international borders.
Source: Saeed Khan/AFP

Australia’s international borders not reopening to international students yet

Morrison said the Commonwealth would stick to its plan of allowing travel only by Australian citizens and residents and their families at first. Borders would open to more travellers “in a staged and careful way” with priority given to skilled migrants and international students.

Morrison said the new arrangements meant all Australians, no matter where they lived in the country, would be allowed to resume overseas travel from November 1. If they wanted to return to a state other than New South Wales, they would still be subject to the arrival caps and quarantine arrangements of those states.

While Australia’s international borders are not expected to reopen to international students next month, a small number would be able to return by the year-end.  The New South Wales government recently announced a pilot plan to facilitate the return of some 500 international students from December 2021. All participating students will be required to be fully vaccinated with a TGA-recognised COVID-19 vaccination before landing in Sydney, while strict quarantine protocols will be in place.