Australia ‘on track’ to reopen international borders by Dec. 15, says minister

Latest news for international students
Trade and Tourism Minister Dan Tehan hinted that Australia’s borders could reopen next week. Source: Saeed Khan/AFP

Here’s the latest news for international students in Australia —speaking to Sky News Australia, Trade and Tourism Minister Dan Tehan said the reopening of Australia’s international border to overseas students and skilled migrants is “on track” to take place on December 15.

The country had previously delayed Australia’s border reopening from December 1 to the 15th following concerns over the COVID-19 Omicron variant. “Obviously, [the] National Cabinet will meet on Friday, but everything we’re seeing from this new variant points to the fact that we should be able to progress on the 15th,” Tehan told Sky News Australia.

“Which is wonderful news for Australia’s tourism industry, wonderful news for universities, wonderful news for all those businesses looking for that workforce that’s really going to help springboard us out of the pandemic.”

Latest news for international students in Australia

Tehan’s comments were a stark contrast to health minister Greg Hunt who said he did not want to make guarantees that Australia’s international borders would reopen on December 15, causing more uncertainty for incoming international students in Australia. Source: Saeed Khan/AFP

Latest news for international students in Australia: Positive signal for border reopening?

International students in Australia have been waiting for the country’s borders to reopen for almost two years, and have been frustrated by the unclear timeline for their return. Australia’s health minister Greg Hunt previously said he wasn’t making any guarantees Australia will reopen its border to international students and visa holders in mid-December. 

“I’m certainly not making any guarantees,” Hunt told Sky News when asked if the pause on international arrivals would definitely end after December 15. “It’s our intention at the end of that period, subject to the science and medical advice, to return to the previous settings. It will depend on the international evidence.”

Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson told Study International: “The closure of our international borders during the pandemic has resulted in a reduction in first year starting students. That situation will improve as we carefully begin re-opening in time for first semester in 2022.”

Latest news for international students in Australia

The latest news for international students in Australia suggests the country’s borders could reopen by Christmas. Source: Patrick Hamilton/AFP

“In addition to our high vaccination rates and health response to the pandemic, we offer world-renowned universities and a highly desirable lifestyle to match the education experience. International students studying at Australia’s universities have rated their experience living in the country at record high levels despite the impact of the pandemic.”

Jackson added that she is “optimistic” their campuses will continue to attract students from around 140 countries that pursued university in Australia before the pandemic.

“On Monday, we welcomed back the largest group of international students to return to the country since borders closed nearly two years ago. Around 250 students returned to NSW as part of a pre-planned pilot initiative, and our international borders are expected to open to visa holders next week.”