- The government has announced increase in the weekly capacity to allow the Australians to fly back home.
- Better control over virus scenario prompted the encouraging decision.
- Business fraternity is pressuring the government to allow more immigrants in the country.
- Gradual re-opening of international borders is the key to kickstart economy.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the much-awaited news on Friday that the country will slightly lift the cap on the number of citizens and permanent residents returning to their homeland each week.
In light of the global travel restrictions, Australia had introduced the weekly limit on the number of locals returning to the country. The decision was aimed at reducing the threat of COVID-19 spread. The passengers had to enter a mandatory 14-day quarantine in hotels for safety purposes.
With the mass-scale testing, second phase of lockdowns and social distancing norms, the second wave of infection seems to be under some control now.
On a positive note, Western Australia and Queensland states declared that they would accommodate more locals returning from a foreign land. On which, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the current limit would increase to 5,865 people in November.
To read more on why Australia needs to open up its borders, CLICK HERE.
Gradual victory over COVID-19
The decision to increase the immigration cap was announced after Morrison government faced intense pressure to bring back some 26,000 registered standard Australians.
During the announcement, Scott Morrison told the reporters that for the government, the most effective way to bring back those stuck outside the country is to increase the limit on the number.
Reports are coming in that many standard locals struggled immensely to secure a flight ticket back home. Another critical concern being raised is that the passengers also have to spend several thousand dollars in order to stay at hotel quarantine when they arrive in the country.
To extend more support, Morrison government recently came into agreement with the Northern Territory government. The NT region will take up to 500 people each fortnight which is above the weekly cap.
Victoria state, the epicenter of the country's COVID-19 outbreak, reported on Friday that the active COVID-19 cases have reduced to a four-month low. This is one of the primary reasons to increase the number of Australians allowed to get back home.
Victoria state is also the country's second most populated state, after New South Wales. The state recorded only one new coronavirus case in the past 24 hours, as on 23 October. The total active cases were 100, the lowest since July 19.
Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters in Melbourne that the number is a good and clear sign that their strategy is working.
Recently, the state authorities were in a fearful situation as a new cluster came into the light. The authorities ordered about eight people to self-isolate after a coronavirus case was found in a school in Melbourne's northern suburbs.
The lower active infection number is comforting news not just for the authorities and essential workers working day and night to reduce the numbers, but also to the residents.
As on October 23, Australia had 27,484 COVID-19 infections. The State of Victoria reported more than 90% of the total nationwide 905 deaths.
Border control shakes up the economy
Even though the country has organised repatriation flights to bring back stranded Australians, the pressure from the business community is mounting day by day. The government is resisting the demands, but the question is if it will be able to divert the significant impact on the economy.
The population growth in the country depends primarily on immigration. It is one of the fundamental driving factors of Australia's economic growth.
Australians are urging the government to strike a balance between controlling the spread of coronavirus and allowing citizens and migrants to enter the country, which will push forward the economy.
Australia is not the only country to experience migration issues during the health crisis. This phenomenon is global and affecting many countries who depend on the foreign workforce. Canberra, the capital city of Australia, relies most on the migration among other states. The border closing restrictions have left the town exposed to the economic threat more than others.
According to Australian government forecast, which assumes that the country's borders will reopen by 2021, the total population will be 26 million at the end of 2020. The count is 1 million less than anticipated as the government closed its borders due to COVID-19.
Apart from travel and tourism, many other industries are suffering because of border restrictions such as housing, infrastructure, education. The decision to increase the number of citizens and permanent residents returning to the Australian shores is widely applauded.
One of the repatriation flights from London carried people identified as "vulnerable". The passengers included newborn babies and older people. Repatriation flights are also bringing back standard Australian's from South Africa and India.
The business community is still on the hold as the government is taking cautious steps towards reopening borders.
There is no investor left unperturbed with the ongoing trade conflicts between US-China and the devastating bushfire in Australia.
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