Australia to reopen international border on 21 February

Australia to reopen international border on 21 February

Australia will open its borders to all tourists who are fully vaccinated and visa holders. This decision has been dubbed “bittersweet” for those who missed funerals due to restrictions in the past weeks.

Scott Morrison announced on Monday that the nation will open its borders to all visa holders who are fully vaccinated, including tourists, starting on 21st February. This is almost two years since the first border closure.

Since November, the borders have gradually opened, but certain groups, including holders of bridging visas, immediate family members, and tourists, were still not allowed to travel without exemption.

The announcement made on Monday evoked mixed emotions in those who were trapped by ongoing restrictions over the past few months. This includes Gold Coast resident Amy Jade Newsome, who is currently on a temporary visa as she awaits a decision regarding a skilled worker’s visa.

Newsome, who spoke to Guardian Australia, said that it was bittersweet, and the timing couldn’t have been worse. “I’m glad to be going home, but it’s only been a little over a week, and now I’m able to leave. There are a lot of emotions. I am happy that everyone can return home, including me. Freedom of Information data revealed that about 70% of the exemption requests of bridging Visa holders were rejected.


According to Guardian Australia, in one case, the federal government refused six compassionate exemption requests from Ash Fadian. Fabian was a Sydney woman who held a bridging Visa and wanted to attend her brother-in-law’s funeral.

The industry was denied staff during a period of severe shortages.

Australians who were unable to reunite their immediate families with loved ones have also welcomed the decision to open up the border.

The government promised to allow immediate families to reunite before Christmas. However, changes made last year didn’t define adult children of Australian residents as being “immediate” family. This meant that people like Stewart Hayter from Adelaide, a grandfather who lives with autism, were unable to visit his daughter or two grandchildren.

Hayter’s frustration grew when Morrison made a public appeal to working backpackers and students last month. He called those comments a “slap on the face” for those who are struggling with long-term separations from their families.

Hayter hailed Morrison’s Monday announcement as “great news,” allowing him to reunite with his family after more than two years apart.

Morrison, in making the announcement that was expected, stressed the importance of travelers being fully vaccinated. He also referred to the Novak Djokovic controversy, stating that “events early in the year” should have sent out a clear message around the globe to all visitors about Australia’s requirement for them to be fully immunized.

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The tourism industry welcomed the news with enthusiasm.

Margy Osmond said that the Tourism & Transport Forum’s chief executive was “thrilled,” but there were still details to work out.

There will be issues with the technicalities. Work needs to be done. “It’s not just as easy as turning on the faucet,” she said.

The Council of Business of Australia stated that the reopening of the airport put Australia in a position to “supercharge its economic recovery.”

Jennifer Westacott, chief executive of the company, said: “This move ends fortress Australia.” This is the light that small businesses, tourism operators, and the event industry were desperate to see at the end.

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