Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia, stated that Australia would reach the vaccination benchmark Tuesday. At which point the country could open up to the world: 80% of those 16 years and over getting a second shot.
He announced plans last week to allow citizens who have been vaccinated and permanent residents to fly to overseas starting in November, the first time since a very strict travel ban was implemented in March 2013.
Morrison, however, stated Tuesday that skilled migrants and international students would be the next priority after Australians.
Because of the pandemic restrictions, Australian immigration has been at its lowest level since World War II. Australian universities, which heavily rely on international students paying fees, have also suffered from the pandemic. The education sector is concerned that students may not enroll in Australia unless Australia opens its borders to them soon.
Morrison stated that skilled migrants are the next priority. They are also double-vaccinated and have students coming to Australia for their studies.
The Australian Tourism Export Council represents a sector that earned 45 billion Australian dollars ($33 million) per year from international tourists prior to the pandemic. It wants international visitors back by March.
Australia is trying to immunise its citizens as the spread of the more contagious Delta variant, which began in Sydney in June, continues.
On Tuesday, Victoria reported a national record 1,763 local infections. The second-most populous Australian state also reported four deaths from COVID-19.
New South Wales set the previous national record for 1,599 infected people in 24 hours. It was established when New South Wales' outbreak peaked on September 10.
In mid-September, hospitals in Australia's most populous states reached their peak.
New South Wales is leading the way in terms of vaccination rates, and Sydney's airport will be the first to open to vaccinated travellers.