Australian border update: No w

Australia will not open to international visitors until 2022 Image : Pexels

Australian border update: No welcome mat for South Africans yet

Despite recent announcements promising eased travel restrictions, Australia will not receive international visitors until next year.

Australian border update: No w

Australia will not open to international visitors until 2022 Image : Pexels

Australia’s borders have been closed since March last year causing distress and frustration to both Australians and foreign nationals who wish to travel to or from the Land Down Under.     

There was jubilation and excitement last week when it was announced that Australia would be opening up for international tourism.  The move was announced since Australia is soon expected to reach a vaccination benchmark of 80% of the population (aged 16 and older) having had a second shot of the vaccine.


Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week outlined plans to allow vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents to travel abroad from November for the first time since March last year. 

Bloomberg states that when returning to Australia, such individuals will be expected to undergo home quarantine.    According to the recent announcement, only fully vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents will be able to participate in the home quarantine scheme.

The government intends to implement a seven-day home quarantine requirement for returning vaccinated citizens and residents. This is set to replace the costly 14-day hotel quarantine scheme which is currently in place.


Quotas regulating the number of Australians entering from abroad have prevented many Australians from returning to their homeland during the pandemic. Morrison said that the primary focus was going to be getting Australian nationals from abroad back to the country.

“The next priorities are skilled migrants that are very important for the country and who are double vaccinated, as well as students who are coming and returning to Australia for their studies,” Morrison told Seven Network television.

Skilled migrants and students enrolled for studies in Australia would be given higher priority, than visitors from abroad.  International visitors won’t be allowed into Australia until next year.

“We will get to international visitors as well, I believe next year,” Morrison added.

The Australian Tourism Export Council, which represents the country’s tourism sector, wants international visitors to return by next March.  Australia earned 45 billion Australian dollars (R 493 billion) a year through international tourism (before the pandemic).


According to, Qantas is planning to operate flights to destinations that the Australian government has approved for Australians to travel to.  

Three weekly return flights between Sydney and London and Los Angeles have been scheduled.  These flights are already full and tickets come at a premium – given the pent-up demand for overseas travel by Australians.   

“We’d already sold out some of our international flights for December and seen strong demand on flights to and from London and Los Angeles, so we’re confident there will be a lot of interest in these earlier services,” Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said in a statement.


The excitement and enthusiasm of potential reunions with family and friends from Australia in December has been short-lived since it is improbable that Australia will classify South Africa as a safe destination to travel to this year.  

South Africa is currently not one of the approved destinations for Qantas flights to return to in December. The airline’s flights to Johannesburg are scheduled to resume in April next year.