The acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, Alan Tudge held a conference on 6th November 2020. Below is a summary of the key points covered:
- Work is being done to try to ‘’our borders slowly but safely reopened.”
- Temporary skilled migrants but on a priority listing to be allowed entry. ‘’There are 17 occupations which we presently have on the priority occupations list. So, typically there’s a list of say, 200 occupations nationally and several hundred more for the regions. Based on advice from the National Skills Commission (…) we’ve got a priority list at the moment of 17. But that will be under constant review’’.
- Bubble arrangements now in place with New Zealand, with no quarantine requirement.
- Quarantine in place for all other arrivals which limits the number of people allowed into the country:
‘’At the moment, (…) we have something like 5000 beds per week, which obviously we’re prioritising Australians and permanent residents for those beds. But it means there’s only certain spots, if you like, available. If you don’t have to quarantine, we can just have the planes coming in. So we’re still working on that.’’
‘’(…) we’ve now made further purchases of vaccines so that they can be available to all Australians next year. We’ve got a diverse supply of vaccines now as well from different sources, which are slightly different vaccines. And I guess we’re optimistic that these vaccines will work and that they’ll be readily available from about March of next year; and that certainly, by the end of next calendar year, that all Australians who want to be vaccinated will have that opportunity to be vaccinated.’’
Digital visa system:
- Introduction of a more sophisticated digital visa system, including your incoming passenger card system by middle of next year
- Development of a system in place ‘’whereby if someone has been vaccinated, they’ll be able to effectively digitally staple that vaccination to their incoming passenger card so that we will know when they arrive that they’ve been vaccinated and therefore may not need to quarantine (…) those who have had a vaccination will be able to travel into Australia, potentially.”
Net overseas migration:
‘’For the first time in 75 years, we’re actually expecting net overseas migration to be negative this financial year, and negative next financial year, i.e. more people will be leaving Australia than coming into it. That has very significant economic consequences. Then we forecast it largely to come back by year four, but it means in these next couple of years we’re still forecasting for very, very few people to actually come into the country. So that’s one of our big challenges you mentioned – I think people can understand that now and the only silver lining to this, I think, is that it enables some of our big capital cities to have a bit of a breather and allow the infrastructure to catch up. Some of our big capital cities have been really feeling the population, very rapid population growth, in previous years. That’s the one silver lining. But, you know, we do want to get that migration coming back again and we’re working towards that.’’