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Backpackers incoming! Pause on visa holders returning to Australia likely to end next week

A pause on the return of visa holders to Australia and the arrival revival of migrant workers will likely end on schedule next week, the prime minister has indicated.

A pause on the return of visa holders to Australia and the arrival revival of migrant workers will likely end on schedule next week, the prime minister has indicated.

PM Morrison said it was likely visa holders would be allowed to enter from overseas without the need for a travel exemption from December 15.

Their return was delayed by two weeks from the initial date of December 1, following concerns about the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

“All of the information we’re receiving points to that, it was a pause,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.

“The Australian government will keep moving forward and I think that’s really important.”

The government estimates more than 233,000 visa holders will be allowed to come into the country under the border reopening plan.

West MacDonnell national park, Northern Territory
West MacDonnell national park, Northern Territory

Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott had said multiple sectors including travel and hospitality would be able to benefit from the return of skilled workers.

“Business large and small have been crying out for these highly skilled workers,” she said.

“This will be critical relief for businesses who are struggling to find workers just to keep their doors open and for those who need highly specialised skills to unlock big projects.”

While the pause was initiated following worries about the Omicron variant, experts have indicated the new strain causes milder symptoms despite being more transmissible.

The prime minister said vaccination rates in every state and territory would likely pass 80 per cent fully vaccinated by the end of the week, while national rates were also set to reach new milestones.

“We are going into the end of this week where we are going to be very close to hitting 90 per cent double dose vaccination around the country,” he said.

“That is an extraordinary achievement for Australians.”

Via AAP