Australians are not expected to be able to travel overseas until next year, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison still refusing to confirm any timeline.
“I’ve been seeking to get support where Australians who are vaccinated would be able to travel overseas and return in some kind of modified quarantine arrangement,” he told Ben Fordham on 2GB today.
“But that also has to be done safely.”
When can we travel overseas again?
While no official announcement has been made, paperwork from the Federal Budget papers indicates mid-2022 will be the date leaving Australia without permission might be possible.
It said: “The rate of international arrivals will continue to be constrained by state and territory quarantine caps over 2021 and the first half of 2022”.
Caps refers to the strict limits on people allowed to fly in each week to go into hotel quarantine, which is limited to Aussie citizens, permanent residents, their spouses and children.
It had been presumed travel might be allowed by the end of the year, but this is now all but confirmed not to be the case.
October was an earlier date given, which was when vaccines were due to be finished.
International travel exemptions – how to get one
Australians have been banned from travelling overseas since March 2020.
The nation has the harshest travel rules in the world.
But there are exceptions.
The official reasons allowed are: If travel is in response to the pandemic, for work, for medical treatment, for a “compelling reason” for more than three months, which must be declared in a statutory declaration, for “compassionate or humanitarian grounds” or if it’s in the national interest.
Who can come to Australia?
Travel remains difficult and expensive. There are almost 35,000 Aussies who have told the government they want to get back, but cannot because of restrictions on flying in.
Mandatory, 14-day hotel quarantine on arrival costs $3000 each, or $5000 for a family- even if people have been vaccinated overseas.
Plus, Australians who normally live overseas can also come on holiday- as if you live abroad normally, you don’t need permission to get out again.
According to the ABS, in March, 8,320 people came on a ‘short term trip’, mostly from New Zealand, the UK and USA.
Diplomats, seasonal workers recruited from the Pacific, and people on ‘Business Innovation and Investment visas’ are also exempt, Home Affairs said.
New Zealanders normally resident in Australia can also come.
People on temporary visas, such as migrant workers, are also barred from entering – even if they lived here when the borders closed but were overseas.
People are also allowed to apply to come if they have a “critical skill” of if travel is in the “national interest,” or if they have “compassionate and compelling reasons”.
The UK last week put Australia on its ‘green’ travel list which in theory allows Brits to come – even though they’re not allowed in.
A total of 230 were allowed in March – in comparison to 60,000 normally that month in the previous year.
Do I have to be vaccinated to travel?
He said the topic was something his medical expert panel was “working on right now”.