"The return of skilled visa holders and students announced today has been a long time coming and, while welcome, will expose the ongoing inconsistencies with our state borders and quarantine rules," Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group, said today.

"We compete with other countries for a share of international students and skilled workers. The majority of other countries have opened to the world more quickly than us and we are competing with one arm tied behind our back.

"Even though people arriving from abroad must be fully vaccinated and undergo testing, caps on flight numbers will remain in states such as Western Australia and Queensland where quarantine rules are still strict. Such state-based international border rules will remain as disincentives to fully vaccinated travellers and will vastly reduce the economic benefits skilled migrants and foreign students bring to Australia. This is all the more pressing because of the extent of current skill shortages.

"We need to get back to a situation as soon as possible where we have borders rules that are both rational and truly national," Mr Willox said.

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