“When will border reopens in Australia for international students?”
A 40 billion dollar question asked repeatedly by international students, agencies, universities and the state governments.
Since March 2020, Australian borders are closed to everyone except Australian citizens and permanent residents.
It is estimated that more than 100,000 international students are stuck outside Australia since the travel ban was introduced in March.
While many more new applicants are waiting for the borders to reopen so they can finally make their way to study in Australia.
So in this article, we will try to uncover some facts and information we know about the reopening of the Australian borders so far.
What's in this guide ?
What’s the situation in Australia?
Update: Victorian government has relaxed some restrictions from 28th September as the COVID-19 cases continue to fall. More details are here.
It has been very challenging times for everyone during this pandemic around the world.
In general, Australia has managed to control the spread of the virus really well with it’s strict lockdown measures.
Most of the states and territories in Australia are reporting very little to no cases over the last few months except Victoria.
The second wave of the Covid 19 in Victoria impacted the planned recovery for the most of the country. It also led to the postponement of the pilot program to bring international students back in Australia.
We discussed about that program here:
New Pilot Program to test international student arrival
Update: Plan to bring 70 international students in Darwin has been agreed upon. More details are here.
Although, the previous pilot program was cancelled but on 16th August 2020, a new pilot program was announced.
As per the update, Australian government is planning to reopen its border for 300 international students who will arrive in South Australia in early September.
Update: South Australian Government is still waiting final approval from Federal Government on this pilot program as per 29th September 2020. Here are the details.
It is known that students will be from the South East Asian countries (includes students from Singapore, Japan, China and Hong Kong) and they will meet in Singapore where a charter flight will take them to Adelaide in South Australia.
The students will be required to do a 14 days mandatory quarantine as per the requirement by Australian Government for returning travellers.
It is also confirmed that universities will be paying for the cost of this quarantine.
More details are discussed here:
Factors that can affect the reopening of Australian borders
Now, how soon or late the Australian borders reopen will depends on few factors like:
- How the second wave of the Covid situation pan out in Victoria
- Any further outbreaks in other parts of Australia
- How quickly the vaccine is ready for this virus
- How the virus is controlled and managed globally
- How willing Australian government is to take a risk for the economy to let international students come in from overseas.
There could be some other unknown factors as well which impact the reopening of the borders in Australia as it is a continuously evolving situation.
Estimated time frame for Borders Reopening
We wish we had the crystle ball to predict the exact dates of reopening of the border.
There is no official announcement of the dates of reopening of the Australian borders yet. It is hard even for the Australian Government to predict when the borders might reopen.
However, in one of the interviews, Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison mentioned that Australian borders will not reopen at least until the end of the year. It means that we don’t expect the international travel to restart at least until 2021.
Further to add, Simon Birmingham, Australian Tourism Minister have previously admitted that we might be looking around mid next year (July 2021) before the borders fully reopen.
Let’s say, even if the pilot project to bring international students in September 2020 is successful, we still don’t see thousands of other students coming back this year.
There could be a possibility that other states and territories might run similar pilot programs, especially ACT and Queensland before the end of the year.
So it safe to say then that International students can come back to Australia in the first semester of 2021? Well, very hard to predict that too.
What should I do?
Since Australian Government announced some changes to the student visas in July 2020, it is clear that granting of visas to international students will recommence.
It will allow students to travel to Australia when the borders reopen. If you don’t mind studying online from offshore, then you can do that till the time borders reopen.
Also, if you are still planning to apply for studying in Australia and you are in a position to do so, then you might consider to apply for a July 2021 or November 2021 intake to be on the safe side.
That being said again, no one knows how the situation will evolve in the next few months.
Well, we hope you got some value from this article and we will keep updating this article as soon as we get further updates regarding that.