Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Friday that an 18-month ban on Australians travelling abroad will be lifted beginning next month, easing one of the most stringent COVID-19 restrictions in the world.
Morrison stated that the reopening of the international border for citizens and permanent residents will be linked to the establishment of home quarantine in Australia's eight states and territories, implying that some parts of the country will reopen sooner than others.
The first phase of the plan will focus on allowing citizens and permanent residents to leave Australia, with subsequent changes expected to allow foreign visitors to enter the country.
Morrison stated that the first home quarantine systems should be operational by November, but that the timetable will be determined by individual states and territories.
He has previously stated that when the national vaccination rate for people over the age of 16 reaches 80 percent, which is expected by the end of next month, he wants all state and international borders reopened.
According to the plan announced on Friday, fully vaccinated Australians will be able to travel abroad and complete a 7-day quarantine upon their return. Those who have not been immunised will be required to spend 14 days in quarantine at a hotel when they return.
Morrison stated that his government is working to eliminate quarantine requirements for travel to countries such as New Zealand when it is "safe to do so."
According to an Australian government source, plans are being discussed to allow foreign visitors to enter the country, but no timetable has been set.
With just over 107,000 cases and approximately 1,300 deaths, Australia's strict border closure has been credited with keeping the country's exposure to the pandemic relatively low.
Officials expanded the country's list of recognised COVID-19 vaccines to support the reopening of borders and allow more Australians to return.
When foreign visitors are allowed to enter the country, the addition of China's Sinovac vaccine, in particular, is expected to boost Australia's key international education sector.
Covishield, a Serum Institute of India-produced version of AstraZeneca's vaccine, will also be added to the approved list, joining the three vaccines currently being administered in Australia - Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca.
This is an exciting time for Australian immigration in general, and if you have not yet begun your application to become Australia's latest and greatest new property, there is no better time than this transitional period to begin.