Prime Minister Scott Morrison has signaled the possible reopening of the international border by the end of this year prioritizing Australian citizens and permanent residents, followed by skilled migrants and international students.
“Having a vaccinated population particularly when we hit 80 per cent that means Australia will be able to open up, begin opening up to international travel again and there are three priorities; the first one is, of course, for Australians around the world to be able to come home if they are vaccinated and not be subject to any caps at our airports,” he said during a virtual press conference with the Indian media today.
Gradual return of skilled migrants and international students, but no visitors until 2022
Mr Morrison said once Australians make their way home, the government would allow a gradual return of skilled migrants followed by international students.
He, however, ruled out any possibility of tourists travelling to the country this year.
“I think we will have to work through the priorities of Australian residents and citizens, skilled migrants and students. I think they are our priorities, and then next year, I think we will be able to move to that (tourists returning). I hope we can, but we have just got to take this one step at a time.”
Who can visit outside Australia
Mr Morrison said the government was getting its systems ready to allow citizens and residents to leave the country and return to states which have reached the 80 per cent double dose vaccination milestone.
He said New South Wales is likely to be the first cab off the rank to allow citizens and residents to fly overseas.
“My intention is for Australian citizens, residents who are vaccinated in a state that has gone into Phase C – 80% vaccination – so you will be able to travel to India and return. I hope to see that this year,” he said.