Australia has an estimated population of 25.7 million. To date, 15% have been fully vaccinated and 32.5% had the 1st dose.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic there have been 33,909 confirmed cases in Australia and, sadly, 923 people have died. More than 24.8 million tests have been undertaken in Australia.
Globally there have been over 196.5 million cases and sadly over 4.1 million deaths.
Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine roll out continues to expand. To date 12,005,978 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Australia. New South Wales (NSW) has had the highest vaccine uptake, followed by Victoria (VIC) and Western Australia (WA). Both vaccines, Pfizer and AstraZeneca are available in Australia.
So far there are only 2 countries who have 70% of the eligible population vaccinated: UK and Israel.
The Grattan Institute confirms that after 80% of the population is vaccinated, including 95 per cent of over-70-year-olds, living with COVID-19 in the community will be manageable. Serious cases are not likely to overwhelm the health system.
Australia’s Plan to transition – National COVID-19 Response
The Australian National Cabinet agreed to formulate a national plan to transition Australia’s National COVID-19 Response from its current pre-vaccination settings, focusing on continued suppression of community transmission, to post vaccination settings focused on prevention of serious illness, hospitalisation and fatality, and the public health management of other infectious diseases.
The National Plan sets out 4 phases to effectuate this transition. Each phase will be triggered by the achievement of vaccination thresholds of both the nation, and the individual state or territory expressed as a percentage of the eligible population, based on the scientific and economic modelling conducted for the COVID-19 Risk Analysis and Response Taskforce.
Phase A. Vaccinate, Prepare and Pilot (Current Phase)
Australia will continue to strongly suppress the virus for the purpose of minimising community transmission. Measures may include accelerating vaccination rates, closing international borders to keep COVID-19 out, and early, stringent and short lockdowns if outbreaks occur.
Phase B. Vaccination Transition Phase (~70% of adult population fully vaccinated)
In this phase, Australia will seek to minimise serious illness, hospitalisations and fatalities as a result of COVID-19 with low-level restrictions. Measures may include maintaining high vaccination rates, encouraging uptake through incentives and other measures, minimising cases in the community through ongoing low-level restrictions and effective track and trace, and with lockdowns unlikely but possible and targeted.
In this phase, some student and economic visa holders will be allowed to enter Australia. Caps and quarantine apply.
Phase C. Vaccination Consolidation Phase (≥80% of adult population fully vaccinated)
In Phase C, Australia will seek to minimise serious illness, hospitalisations and fatalities as a result of COVID-19 with baseline restrictions. Measures may include maximising vaccination coverage, minimum ongoing baseline restrictions adjusted to minimise cases without lockdowns, and highly targeted lockdowns only.
Increased intake of student, economic and humanitarian visa holders. Caps and quarantine apply.
Phase D. Post-Vaccination Phase
In the final phase, Australia will open international borders. Uncapped international arrivals allowed.
The Grattan Institute suggests that an 80% vaccination level can be reached by the end of year if a vaccine is approved for children under 12. Otherwise, Australia should aim for March 2022, by vaccinating a higher share of adults.
The World Health Organisation’s chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, has estimated that between 60% and 70% of the population would need to be immunised against COVID-19 to achieve herd immunity. Herd immunity is where a high enough proportion of the population has resistance to a disease, meaning its spread is hampered. However, countries could see benefits of vaccination efforts before herd immunity is reached if doses are targeted to high-risk groups and those who are more likely to transmit the disease, such as essential workers.
Current Visa Options, if you are Offshore
Even though Australia’s international borders are closed, there are a few visa programs which allow migrants to come to Australia. For example, there are currently 44 occupations on the Priority Migration Skills List (PMSOL). Additionally, South Australia has made 36 critical skills occupations available for offshore applicants.
Successful applicants who are currently offshore will be able to migrate to Australia in order to assist with the health and economic response to COVID-19.
Of course, there are also Family Visas available if you have a family member in Australia that can sponsor you. For example: Partner Visa, Child Visa and Parent Visa.
What’s the next step?
Contact us for an assessment of your visa eligibility! We are Immigration Lawyers and Registered Migration Agents and can advise what visa is the most suitable option for you considering your qualifications, work experience, and circumstances. We will give you a step by step guide how to prepare your migration to Australia and make it a success! 𝑩𝒐𝒐𝒌 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒔𝒖𝒍𝒕𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆
The Immigration Minister, Alex Hawke made a few announcements important for migrants in Australia: 1) Hospitality and Tourism are soon also to be classified as critical industries alongside other sectors such as agriculture, food processing, health care, disability care and childcare with similar allowances. Temporary visa holders working in or intending to work in critical sectors are able to apply for the Subclass 408 COVID-19 Visa which enables them to remain in Australia for up to 12 additional months and have full work rights. 2) International Students working in Hospitality and Tourism will soon be exempt from their work limitations and can work beyond their usually restricted hours. 3) Veterinarians will be added to the Priority Skilled Occupation List for skills deemed critical for Australia’s economic recovery. Read our previous blog article about the other priority occupations here
There are currently 300,000 international students in Australia who have restricted work rights and can only work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight while studying. In order to boost the tourism and hospitality industry, the Australian Government is now removing the existing cap for student visa holders employed in these sectors following strong industry feedback.
Immigration Minister Hawke said the tourism and hospitality sectors employ more than half a million Australians and these changes will help businesses supplement their existing workforce, which he described as “generating employment through a job multiplier effect”.