Border Restrictions Are Easing & What It Means For Hospo

Things are looking up for foodservice

With the border restrictions easing to allow international students and skilled workers back into the country, it’s exciting times for the foodservice industry. Plagued by a staff shortage crisis and entering what’s usually the busiest time of the year, this announcement signals a breath of hope for the struggling industry.


If you missed the announcement, here is some of the important information (hospitality magazine, 2021):

  • Vaccinated overseas workers can enter Australia from December 1st and will not need to apply for a travel exemption.
  • There are 28 eligible visas, which include the Temporary Work visa; Work and Holiday visa; Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa.


The Australian Financial Review reports job vacancies in the hospitality industry have increased by 87 per cent since the beginning of the pandemic, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Which is an astonishing number.


It should be no surprise however, with the industry employing many migrant workers and visa holders. As the pandemic persisted many international students and workers had to make hard decision to return home.


The changes to border rules should be seen as a huge step in the right direction for foodservice, giving much needed hope for businesses struggling to find skilled workers.


Industry body Restaurant & Catering, who has been an advocate for change to border restrictions, has welcomed the news:


“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia’s hospitality sector was desperate for staff. This was exacerbated by lockdown when international arrivals were barred from entering the country,” said R&CA Chief Executive Wes Lambert.


“Although the industry still has a long way to go until we reach pre-pandemic levels of staff – this is a much welcomed and much needed announcement”.


It’s perhaps too optimistic to expect an immediate fix to the staffing crisis, but business owners and their management teams can now plot a path forward knowing that the pool of skilled workers from overseas will be available again.


R&CA has welcomed further announcements made by government that will make the pathway to permanent residency easier for migrants. This could serve as an added incentive for those thinking of travelling to Australia to work, while also creating better opportunities for migrants that have stuck it out over the pandemic.


So, it seems that Christmas has come early in the form of these announcements, and it truly couldn’t have come any sooner. We look forward to seeing an influx of skilled migrants return to the country in 2022, and hope that this move will be a big boost for foodservice businesses.


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