Migration could resume more quickly than expected with borders starting to be eased from November 1.
NSW has indicated it will scrap quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travelers and lift incoming traveler caps from November 1.
The measure comes as NSW looks set to achieve 90% plus adult vaccination rates (78.8% of NSW adults (16+) are fully vaccinated and first doses sit at 91.7% as of the end of last week).
Although the removal of quarantine requirements will only extend to Australian residents/citizens and their families at this stage, this is the first sign of international border restrictions easing in Australia, while the removal of quarantine requirements may see a faster resumption of migration when migration resumes if prospective migrants saw potential quarantine requirements as an impediment compared to other countries.
What all this means
NSW has indicated it will significantly reduce restrictions for international arrivals from November 1, scrapping quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated people:
“ from 1 November, the NSW Government will remove quarantine requirements and caps for overseas arrivals who the Commonwealth Government recognises as fully vaccinated with a TGA-approved vaccine, helping Australians stranded abroad get home before the end of the year.
Further advice about testing requirements for arrivals will be provided in the coming days….
Overseas arrivals who are not fully vaccinated will be capped at 210 people per week, and will be required to undergo mandatory 14-days hotel quarantine”. NSW Government: NSW flying towards 80 per cent double dose target.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has indicated a re-opening of the border (a federal government responsibility) will in the first instance allow international travel for Australian residents/citizens and their families and that a broader border re-opening will be done in a staged manner which is yet to be unveiled in detail.
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Under the current national re-opening plan, at 80% full adult vaccination:
- caps on returning vaccinated Australians would be scrapped;
- there would be increased capped entry of student, economic and humanitarian visa holders;
- all restrictions on outbound travel for vaccinated Australians would be lifted;
- travel bubbles for unrestricted travel would be extended; and
- gradual re-opening of inward and outward international travel.
How quickly migration returns to Australia remains uncertain,
But the accelerated vaccine rollout and the scrapping of quarantine requirements could support a quicker than expected easing of border restrictions.
Prior to the pandemic, Australia used to receive around 240k net migrants which contributed around 2/3rds of Australia’s population growth of 1.6%.
Budget forecasts back in May 2021 saw net migration returning by mid-2022 with net migration only gradually lifting back to 235k persons by 2024-25.
Closed international borders have seen pockets of labour shortages emerge in several industries, ranging from the highly skilled to the lower-skilled positions traditionally filled by working holiday visas and backpackers or international students.
A return of net migration is likely to ease wage pressures in those selected industries.
Source of charts and commentary NAB Market Research