In disappointing news for moving companies in the United Kingdom and Europe involved in the international consumer market, the Australian government has announced that it will not open its borders until next year as part of a budget plan that will bring back migrants in 2022.

In response to concerns in Australia that economic recovery cannot be achieved without migration, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he believed in restoring migration to the levels seen before the pandemic, as soon as the government’s health experts declared it possible.

However, in the government’s budget on Tuesday, they announced that new migrants to Australia will be forced to wait four years before they can access any government benefits. The cost-cutting measure will apply to all those granted residency from 1 January 2022. Australia’s inbound migration programme has been severely disrupted by the pandemic. The government said that 2021 immigrant processing will focus on granting permanent residency to those already arrived.

The Australian Treasurer said he wanted to restore migration to the pre-pandemic levels.  Net overseas migration is expected to fall from 154,000 people in 2019-20 to about 72,000 people in 2020–21.

“The borders will reopen when it’s safe to do so, and when they do, net overseas migration will increase, including skilled workers,” said Mr. Frydenberg. “And those skilled workers play a very important role across the economy, but we’re not going to compromise public safety, or indeed the economic recovery, by moving ahead of the medical advice.”

The pandemic has significantly reduced the international moving market to both Australia and New Zealand.  In New Zealand, migrant departures exceeded arrivals among non-New Zealand citizens for the first time since the late 1970s according to Stats NZ.