Australia will look to facilitate the quick return of temporary visa holders to Australia, said the new Immigration Minister Alex Hawke.
Addressing hundreds of thousands of temporary migrants stranded outside Australia, Mr Hawke highlighted their importance to Australia and signalled that the government would look at how to bring them back to the country as soon as possible.
Temporary visa holders, including temporary skilled migrants, business migrants, and international students, have been left stranded offshore ever since Covid-19 broke out and prompted border closures and travel restrictions almost a year ago.
Speaking on how the government plans to bring temporary migrants back to the country, Mr Hawke said the Morrison government is planning to open Australian borders for international travel by rolling out vaccination programs.
Mr Hawke also spoke about how vital temporary migrants are to Australia, saying that the country badly misses visitors and temporary visa holders, who are crucial to Australia’s economy.
He said that as soon as the vaccination programs are successfully rolled out, Australia will be in a position to open its borders to the rest of the world, which will allow the resumption of important visits from tourists and their contribution to the Australian economy.
Moreover, Australia is also looking to welcome back foreign students, as the international student sector is one of Australia’s largest and most important export sectors.
Mr Hawke also drew special attention to the economic contribution of temporary migrants to Australia, saying that temporary visa holders inherently add value to the country’s economy.
As a result of Australia closing its borders for international travel to combat the coronavirus outbreak, the country has seen a 65 per cent dip in international student visa applications in the second half of 2020, according to data provided by the Department of Home Affairs.
However, Mr Hawke harboured the belief that migrants would start arriving in Australia in droves once again as soon as the country’s borders are reopened for international travel.