On 15 October 2021, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the announcement that parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents will be classified as immediate family, allowing them to travel to Australia in states and territories that have reached 80 per cent double dose vaccination targets.
The Prime Minister said : “I know that will be very welcome news to Australians right across the country who were hoping to be reunited with their family members, their parents who are overseas.”
Since Australia’s international borders shut in March 2020, only immediate family members were able to get exemptions to visit. But parents were excluded from this classification, leading to a campaign for change. The federal government has changed this interpretation, but some are worried state border restrictions will still prevent their parents from coming.
The decision to classify the parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents as immediate family, opening the door for them to travel into the country, has been met with relief, excitement and some trepidation.
Nearly half of all Australians were either born overseas or had at least one parent who was. Yet until now, foreign-born parents were ineligible to apply for a COVID-19 exemption to travel into Australia because they were not considered immediate family.
The Prime Minister’s speech can be viewed on YouTube: https://youtu.be/6Z_K3irnPW8