How Soon Will Australia Open Its Borders for International Students?

The ongoing pandemic has affected our everyday lives. Many countries are still imposing travel restrictions as part of their preventive measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.


If you are set to travel but are affected by these constraints, I'm sure you've been wondering, "When can we all go back to normal and cross the borders again?"


One powerful country known to have sealed its borders for international students is Australia. Since last March 2020, it has successfully implemented strategies to eliminate the emergence of the number of cases. Aside from banning entry, the country has also placed strict local lockdowns, intensive testing, and contact tracing.


As of this writing, Australian borders are still closed to other countries. The only people who can gain entry are the following:

  • Australian Citizens

  • Permanent Residents

  • Immediate family member

  • Travelers who have been in New Zealand 14 days before departure

Recently, Australia has opened its borders to New Zealand. Travelers from this country are not required to quarantine themselves upon arrival because they are classified as part of the Green Zone Travel.


Movement between these two countries is considered safe and ensures that health requirements are met. But recently, Green Zone Travel is put on hold due to Australia's sudden rise of cases.


While Australia is yet to open its perimeters to outsiders, it is important to know significant updates on travel restrictions and requirements. In this article, we've compiled all the essential information you need to keep yourself abreast while we wait for Australia to open its borders for international students.



According to travelandleisure.com:


“Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said that keeping borders closed to international travelers until next year "is more likely the case,” the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported.


It was not confirmed the date of the reopening but emphasized that in terms of tourist-related travel inbound and outbound of the country remains far off.


In a statement provided by Tourism Australia’s Managing Director, “international restrictions are uncertain as to when it will be lifted and how the process of restoring international travel will start but tourism will be back when the time is right.”


At the peak of the coronavirus outbreak, Australia has banned inter-state travel. But recently, the states are starting to reopen and have allowed domestic travels to their most populous states like Victoria and New South Wales.


In a more recent post from travelandleisure.com:


With the uncertainty of vaccine rollouts and COVID outbreaks around the world, the country may still not open its borders until later or 2022.


While Trade Minister Birmingham has a gray point of view on opening the border, Prime Minister Scott Morison is pushing the possibility that vaccinated Australians may travel abroad without the need to quarantine when they return.


According to skyscanner.com:


Reports in opening Australian borders are doubtful to happen within the year especially to travelers outside their green zone travel.


Even with the vaccine rollout, borders are still shut down to non-essential travel for a while. So, when will travel from overseas be possible? According to Qantas, Australia’s biggest airline, international flights are not expected until July.


The airline has already put their tickets on sale to encourage people to book and allows changes to flights booked until April 2022. This means that flights to Australia from more than 20 destinations can be booked with Qantas Airline starting October 2021.


But Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said way back in October 'international travel is assumed to remain closed off until late next year. Australia's Health Secretary Brendan Murphy signaled that 2022 is a safer time for extensive travel to come back.


In another news report by analysts Deloitte, the firm recommends that the country may be the last in the world to open its borders. Thus, travel to Australia may not be possible until 2024.


This might not be great news for some Aussies who have the longing to take a break outside of the country and even for international students who have been dreaming to travel to land Down Under.



While reports from BBC news says:


Australia is unlikely to open its borders even if a lot of the population has already been vaccinated. Quarantine requirements for travelers will continue for some time says Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy.


This means that citizens, permanent residents, and those with exemptions may enter Australia provided that they complete their 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.


Australia's national carrier, Qantas Airline, has reopened its booking after announcing that international travel will begin July 2021. However, this is still subject to the Australian government's decision to open its border.


According to reuters.com


Australia still has no plans on reopening to the rest of the world until the middle of next year. The country is still closed to non-nationals and non-residents and still allows limited arrivals of its returning citizens.


The strict compliance to medical advice combined with lockdowns and rapid contact tracing has become the world’s one of the most effective control measures.


The border closure has stranded many Australians all over the world. There are about 9,000 Australians in India who have requested to return home. After the controversial travel ban from India, the first repatriation flight from New Delhi arrived in Australia half empty, as many are denied to board after testing positive for the virus.


From outlookindia.com:


Australia's Trade Minister Dan Tehan states that the country may not fully open until the second half of 2022. The news came out as some countries struggle with new outbreaks and mutant strains that became a factor for the uncertainty of the border re-opening.


In the previous month, Australia has banned all passenger flights to India due to the second wave of the COVID 19 pandemic.


From a post of usnews.com:


Australia is planning to start to reopen middle of next year, this is from an official who is resisting pressure to end the closure of international borders.


In a briefing, Prime Minister Morrison also stated that opening its borders will be guided by medical and economic advice.


After the controversial travel ban from India, Australia had its first repatriation flight from New Delhi. The flight arrived in the northern city of Darwin where it was half-empty as many of those who planned to travel was not allowed to board after testing positive for the virus.



In a post from monitor.icef.com:


The year 2020 will not be that good as Australia announces budget cuts as borders are still closed until next year.


The inability of international students to enter Australia due to COVID 19 travel restrictions has caused damage to universities' operating revenues. The Federal Education Minister has expected a return of international students in the first quarter of 2022. However, the budget report says that "small phased programs for international students will resume late 2021 and will slowly increase from 2022."


With borders being shut down until mid-2022, the budget for universities will be greatly affected. This could lead to the capacity of the nation's research and jobs inside and outside the universities.


The tourism industry will also be affected by the ongoing lockdown as they will see more job losses and many businesses will fail. International tourists would be much helpful in the tourism industry once the travel ban will be lifted.


In New South Wales, plans to fast track the return of international students as soon as August 2021 as the state government is losing its patience with the slow response in bringing in students.


There is already a 600-bed student accommodation site approved by the government to be converted into a quarantine facility as part of the plan according to International Education Association of Australia CEO Phil Honeywood.


In addition to the quarantine plan, students should arrive on a chartered instead of a commercial flight. They should be counted as under a separate arrival cap and should not take away slots from returning Australian citizens and other international arrivals.


This proposal is still subject to the approval of the federal government for it to become a reality.


According to universityworldnews.com


University leaders want to reopen Australia’s borders to international students. However, they fear that borders will remain close until mid-2022 affecting university incomes.


The federal government has imposed a ban on foreign students following the worldwide coronavirus outbreak. This will be a big challenge for Universities in Australia. The shut down of borders would affect the budget for universities and operating revenues will get worse.


Universities are welcoming plans that would allow international students from low-risk countries to enroll once borders will be opened.


However, figures show that only a few international students started courses in Australia for the first two months of 2021. There are only 79,000 students enrolled compared to 127,000 of the same period in 2020.



In a separate post from studyinternational.com


Here's what you need to know if you're an international student who has been stranded in other countries. Australia’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announces that the country’s 2021-22 budget proposed that small phased programs for international students can start in late 2021. Despite the announcement, many of the students are still doubtful about their return to the country.


The plans on converting the 600-bed accommodation into a quarantine center have already been approved and inspected by both the government and the police. Under the plan, returning students would quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. However, this plan is yet to be approved by the federal education minister Alan Tudge.


In addition, vaccine rollout could speed up opening its borders to international students. Considering the majority of the population could be vaccinated, the opening of international borders can happen sooner than the middle of next year.


Wrap-up


With all these different sources, you could say that the majority has thought of mid to late 2022 as the probable period for border reopening for Australia. But! Everything's just a wise guess until we hear the government itself speak up about the issue.


Despite this, hearing the recently approved South Australia Pilot Program is making things exciting for all our foreign learners! Let's continue to cross our fingers for more positive news in the days to come.


Do you wish to be part of Australia's aspiring international students? Whichever country you choose, our team at Fil-Global Immigration Services is ready to help you shape your journey towards a successful career! Contact us now for a one-on-one consultation!