Omicron Variant: Australia Pauses Next Phase of Border Reopening
COVID-19 Variant Makes Australia Postpone the Border Opening for Foreign Nationals
Just when the diminishing impacts of COVID – 19 were bringing people’s life back on track, a new variant of COVID -19 has hit the community. As the new variant ‘Omicron’ seems more dangerous and powerful, nations have already started taking protective measures. Consequently, the countries that were about the allow international travelers to cross the borders are bound to think again. The most recent update is coming from Australia. Last week only, the country declared the opening of its borders for foreign nationals and skilled immigrants. Let’s understand how Australia Immigration responded to this new variant of COVID – 19 ‘Omicron’.
Australia’s Response to the New Omicron Variant
Exactly when the international students and skilled migrants were dreaming of flying to Australia again, the introduction of the Omicron variant forced the Australian government to halt the border opening for international travelers. The opening is paused for the coming two weeks and the decision has been taken by the National Security Committee of the country.
As per the previous update, the Australian borders for international travelers were expected to open from December 1, 2021. However, looking at the spread of the Omicron variant across nations, the border opening has been delayed till December 15, 2021. This step from Australia is surely unpleasing for skilled migrants, international students, and others who are waiting to travel to Australia for a long time but is imperative from the security perspective.
By delaying the border opening, the Australian government intends to get time to collect information about the new variant that will help them to determine further steps. The statement made by the Australian government says that the authorities require a finer understanding of the new variant, they need to verify the vaccine success rate against Omicron and analyze other crucial factors like the symptoms, transmission level, and so on before deciding on the next steps.
International Travelers and Australian Borders
Currently, the Australian government is allowing fully vaccinated Australian citizens, Australia PR holders, their close relatives, and fully vaccinated green lane travelers (including New Zealand and Singapore citizens) to cross Australian borders with some restrictions. Also, the mentioned travelers must hold a negative PCR test report and a completed Australian traveler declaration form containing the vaccination status of the candidate as well as state and territory prerequisites details necessary to meet the public health requirements.
Omicron Variant – Benchmarks Declared by the Australian Government
Below are the measures announced by the Australian government against the new Omicron variant
- Flights from specific countries are completely banned in Australia.
- If an individual or his/her immediate family member does not hold Australian citizenship or Australian PR and has traveled to the African countries (where the new Omicron variant has been found) in the last 14 days, it will not be allowed to cross Australian borders. The list of countries include
- South Africa
- Swift supervision is mandatory for Australian citizens and Australian PR holders who are traveling from any of the above-mentioned list of countries. Also, the travelers may need to quarantine for a period of 14 days.
- Self-isolation and COVID – 19 test are compulsory for the travelers who traveled from the above-mentioned countries and have entered Australia within the period of the last 14 days.
- The restrictions are applicable to the international students and skilled migrants as well who traveled to the above-mentioned countries in the past 14 days and planning to come back to Australia.
- The measures will be practicable until December 15, 2021.
The Australian government is confident that the country is in a strong position to fight with COVID – 19 and is ready to face the associated challenges. According to the reports, the country has attained the greatest vaccination rate across the globe. 92.3% of Australia’s population are done with the first dose of COVID – 19 vaccination and 86.8% have completed the second dose as well. Due to intellectual guidelines and timely actions, Australia has become one of those countries that are least affected by the deadly virus.
Let’s hope the Omicron variant will not hinder the path of aspirants wishing the study or immigrate to Australia.
For more information and the latest updates on Australian immigration, you can talk to our Australia Immigration Consultants anytime!