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 and much excitement.
The rule change will allow parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents to travel to Australian states and territories that have reached 80 per cent full vaccination targets. In New South Wales, it will mean parents will be allowed to enter Sydney from 1 November if they are fully vaccinated and will not have to undergo hotel quarantine.
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. Campaigners have long been calling on the federal government to include parents as immediate family for inbound travel, with many critical of the restrictions imposed on their parents to enter Australia.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the announcement last Friday, saying it will be good news for many in the country. “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,” he told reporters.