International travel for business purposes


17th November, 2021

International travel for business is back

With international travel now back on the cards for a large portion of Australians, businesses are finally able to set their sights on global expansion once again.

After 18 months of closed borders, Australia’s international travel ban has finally been lifted – a change which has been welcomed by businesses across the country.

Between 20 March 2020 and 1 November 2021, Australian citizens and permanent residents were required to obtain an exemption in order to leave the country and needed to endure two weeks of hotel quarantine upon their return.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that from November 2021, the federal government would be removing most of the red tape associated with overseas travel during the pandemic, marking an end to international border closures.

The only conditions for leaving and returning to Australia are:

  1. The traveller needs to have received two jabs of an approved COVID-19 vaccine
  2. Travellers will need to undertake home quarantine for seven days upon their return.

Notwithstanding the requirement to home quarantine for seven days, now that borders are open, Australian businesses with an appetite for export are finally able to roll up their sleeves and revisit those expansion plans from before the pandemic started.

Domestic differences: Who can travel?

Despite the lifting of the travel ban, the only Australian states that are currently allowing people who have received both vaccinations to enjoy international travel are Victoria, New South Wales, and the Australian Capital Territory.

The remaining states have kept border restrictions in place as they continue their efforts to boost vaccination rates.

READ: Travel expenses — what you can (and can’t) claim

The Queensland Government has confirmed that once its double vaccination rates reach 80 percent it will remove all border restrictions for those who are double vaccinated, a milestone which it expects to reach by 17 December 2021.

The Western Australian Government however has told its residents that border restrictions will remain in place until it reaches a 90 percent inoculation rate, which is unlikely to happen before the middle of January 2022.

South Australia’s restrictions are still in place, with its government hoping for an opening date of 23 November 2021, while Tasmania is expected to maintain its border protection measures until 15 December 2021.

While the Northern Territory is yet to set a date for the removal of its border closures, its government has promised that quarantine requirements will ease for double vaccinated people before the end of 2021.

Travelling overseas for business in 2021? Here’s what you should know

The good news is, that for those who are double vaccinated and living in Victoria, NSW and the ACT, there are essentially no limitations for international travel from a COVID-19 standpoint.

At the same time, certain countries may have their own sets of COVID-19 rules and restrictions in place, and Australians will be required to comply with those rules if they are to enter those jurisdictions.

For example, to be permitted to enter the USA, Australians are required to present the results of a negative COVID-19 test that was taken no more than three days prior to departing.

Those travelling to the UK are also expected to take a pre-booked COVID-19 test on (or before) day two after their arrival.

Before booking any airfares or hopping onto a plane, make sure to look up the latest travel advice for the country you intend on travelling to, as the rules in each jurisdiction are in constant flux.

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International business expansion: Due diligence remains critical

The resumption of international travel is certainly an exciting prospect for Australian businesses with a global appetite, and according to Prathay Chandrakumar from Austrade, the ability to meet people from export markets in person is a genuine game changer for networking, lead generation, and recruitment.

“While we’ve all become adept at operating virtually, scaling globally still needs face to face interaction particularly as your competitors in the markets you’re looking to expand have that advantage,” Chandrakumar said.

READ: Austrade’s flagship export grant to receive major makeover

Chandrakumar warned businesses to take their time in scoping out the landscape of their target markets before pulling the trigger on their expansion plans.

“Ensuring that you have undertaken your due diligence before committing to international expansion is integral,” he said.

“Carefully selecting your target markets, partners and potential customers will assist in mitigating risks.”

If the correct steps are taken to ensure that the product-market fit is right, with economies around the world looking to bounce back, a unique opportunity exists for Australian businesses to plug in their solutions and scale their offerings to markets across the globe.