Inbound Passenger Cap Decreases

Covid-19 Australian Travel Update

Australia’s National Cabinet met today and decided on a plan to manage the Covid-19 pandemic long-term.

This plan includes a  50% reduction incoming passengers by 14 July (some states may move faster than this) resulting in a new total of up to 3,035 international arrivals per week. Each major airport will take the below individual caps:

  • Sydney 1,505
  • Perth 265
  • Adelaide 265
  • Melbourne 500
  • Brisbane 500 (plus 150 surge capacity)

Additional repatriation flights to return Australian citizens will be offered by the federal government. These flights will be in addition to the above cap numbers, with quarantine likely to take place at Howard Springs in the Northern Territory.

A pilot program will be introduced for returning vaccinated travellers requiring 7 days home quarantine (rather than the current 14 days hotel quarantine). No date has been proposed for this arrangement and further information will be provided once to hand.

Once Australia reaches a minimum threshold of vaccinated citizens, (this threshold has not been determined as yet), it will:

  • Increase the inbound passenger cap to 6,070 per week. With each major airport taking the below individual caps:
    • Sydney 3,010
    • Perth 530
    • Adelaide 530
    • Melbourne 1,000
    • Brisbane 1,000 (plus 300 surge capacity)
  • Introduce capped entry for student and economic visa holders. These are expected to include 482 visa holders.

The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, stated that he anticipates this threshold will not be achieved until 2022.

Australia is expecting to have all citizens vaccinated with at least 1 dose of vaccine by the end of 2021. Once this occurs, the first of the purpose build quarantine facilities in Melbourne will come online, with additional facilities in Queensland and Western Australia under discussion.

Analysis

We anticipate a decrease in the number of inbound and outbound travel exemptions that are granted going forwards. The Australian government is in part using these as a lever to control demand for flights.

Flights to Australia will become more difficult to obtain and, as a result, more expensive. Our experience suggests that airlines are less likely to bump business and first class passengers off flights.

Australian citizens, permanent residents and temporary visa holders already in Australia should consider carefully whether they must travel overseas. It is possible that return to Australia will become increasingly difficult or impossible.

Skilled workers seeking to enter Australia for critical work activities are likely to face a higher hurdle in demonstrating the urgent nature of their work across all industries, in particular in light of the additional occupations listed on the PMSOL.

If you are concerned about inbound or outbound travel please contact Hammond Taylor. We have assisted numerous clients to navigate this complex process and can provide advice and assistance to prepare the strongest possible application.

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