When will Australia open borders? Here's the latest updates on the country's travel restrictions
After having strict travel rules in place since March 2020, there’s now hope for Australian citizens living abroad.
Australia has had some of the strictest travel rules around the world, not allowing Australian citizens into the country from abroad.
As vaccination rates increase and infection rates fall, the Australian government has announced that restrictions will soon be easing.
This will make it easier for the Australians living abroad who have not been able to return home during the pandemic.
Here’s the latest on Australia’s travel rules and when they’re expected to change.
What are Australia’s current travel restrictions?
At the moment, Australia has had its borders closed to all travellers unless they have exceptional reasons, such as essential work or visiting a dying relative.
Australian citizens can also enter the country, but there are strict caps on the number of people allowed to enter.
This has meant that thousands of Australians have been unable to return to their home country during the pandemic.
This has affected the 95,000 Australians recorded to be living in the UK in 2020.
When visiting Australia, vaccinated travellers must also undergo a mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine, costing around £1,600 per person.
Is Australia open for travel?
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Friday October 1st that there are plans to ease the strict travel rules from November.
"It's time to give Australians their lives back," Mr Morrison said in a press conference.
From then, vaccinated travellers will only need to undertake a seven-day hotel quarantine instead of 14 days.
Further down the line, it's expected that unvaccinated travellers will also be given the green light at some point, but then they will have to abide by the 14-day quarantine instead.
The change in rules means that Australians with family still living back home could hopefully return to their home country for Christmas this year.
What’s more, British citizens living in Australia will also be able to return to the UK, some for the first time since March 2020 when Australia first introduced travel restrictions.
For Australian residents, travel will be possible for them once more as well once their state reaches 80% vaccination rates.
New South Wales, where the capital city of Sydney is located, is on track to be the first state to reach this threshold.
Other states, like Queensland and Western Australia, are being even more cautious than government advice dictates and plan to keep their borders closed even after vaccination rates reach 80%.
These states have kept their Covid rates to near-zero by keeping their lockdowns in place.
Airlines have warned that demand will be high for flights to Australia when the restrictions ease and they are concerned that they won’t be able to keep up with the amount of attempted bookings.
When will Australia open its borders to the UK?
Despite the international border opening slightly further to allow more vaccinated citizens into Australia, there is no concrete date when foreign travellers will be allowed to visit Australia again.
However, Mr Morrison said that the government was working "towards welcoming tourists back to our shores".
Ordinarily, 700,000 British travellers visit Australia every year.