Number of stranded Australians desperate to return home is approaching 36,000 – but arrival limits mean some may not get a flight back for SIX MONTHS
- Almost 36,000 Australians were stranded abroad to get home
- The prime minister said on Friday that 24,000 people had been registered to come home
- With arrival limits, some Australians can take up to six months to return
There are nearly 36,000 Australians stranded abroad to come home, up from more than 10,000 in less than a week.
The bulging figure was revealed during a Senate investigation that heard the personal plight of citizens desperate to go home.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday that about 24,000 Australians were registered to come home as he announced a phased increase in the weekly arrival limit.
There are nearly 36,000 Australians stranded abroad to get home, up from more than 10,000 in less than a week (photo, people returning on domestic flights in August)
Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured) said on Friday that about 24,000 Australians were registered to come home when he announced a phased increase in the weekly arrival limit.
The return limit is set to be raised to 6,000 next month. At that rate, it would take six months for each registered returning traveler to return.
The Prime Minister’s Department and Cabinet officials said the quarantine ability of hotels – not the availability of flights – prevented more people from returning.
According to the latest figures, 35,700 people want to come home.
At that rate, it would take six months for each registered returning traveler to return.
Deputy Secretary Simon Duggan told the committee that commercial flights to Australia had about 20,000 additional seats every week.
“Flight availability was not the binding constraint on getting Australians home,” he said.
Prime Minister’s Department and Cabinet officials said the option of hotel quarantine – not the availability of flights – is holding back more people (photo, Sydney hotel quarantine in August)
He said the intention was to have everyone on the list back in the country by Christmas.
“Of course we hope we can get all the Australians home in that time frame, but there are many variables in calculating what that will be exactly,” said Mr Duggan.
The travel ban and weekly arrivals cap have left many Australians unable to find their way home in vulnerable circumstances.