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The cap on international passenger arrivals to Australia increased

Updated: Apr 10, 2021

Since the COVID19 pandemic hit Australian shores and border closures were implemented the Australian Government made substantial effort to support Australians wishing to return home from all over the globe. The weekly cap of international passenger arrivals and the quarantine facilities have made the journey home one full of insecurities with many flight cancellations and no certainty as to when they would return home.

The National Cabinet agreed that from 15 February 2021 the international passenger arrivals cap will increase to a total of 6262 per week and is expected to remain at that level until the end of April which is spread between the states in the following manner: NSW - 3010, QLQ - 1000, WA - 512, SA - 530 and VIC - 1310.


This proposed increase is hindered by the new stage four lockdown for the whole state of Victoria which is proposed for a period of five days but could stretch to two weeks, in place since 13 February 2021. The Melbourne bound international passengers who were due to arrive this week may be able to travel in the months of March and April. Further announcements are expected as the circumstances in the state of Victoria unfold over the following weeks.


The arrival numbers are designated for returning Australians and their immediate family members and those in critical industries who are travelling on temporary work visas in relation to the response to the COVID19 pandemic. There has been no movement with respect to bringing back international students for the academic year 2021. The Australian Government has left the decision in the hands of each of its states and territories to furnish plans for the return of overseas students to Australia. In an average year, some 500,000 international students travel to Australia annually. As a result of the pandemic, Australian universities report a significant increase in deferments and a steep decline in new enrolments due to the travel uncertainty.


Northern Territory is negotiating a deal with the Federal Government to allow international students from Asia and the Subcontinent to travel to Darwin. They are the only state that was able to bring back to Australia 63 students since the border shut down in March 2020. NSW is hoping to designate up to 1000 spots a week for returning international students but the new strain of COVID19 put a stop to these plans. SA was working on a pilot project to bring 300 international students back to complete their studies in 2021 academic year, but so far no announcements were made on the progress of the project. Finally, ACT had made plans for the return of 350 international students, but the plan was indefinitely postponed when all international flights to Canberra were stopped. Western Australia, Queensland and Tasmania have not made any official announcements as to the return of international students, the fate of these travellers continues to remain uncertain.


Contact Assent Migration Lawyers for assistance with your return to Australia and maximising your time offshore while the holder of student visa.


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