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Australian PM accused of prioritizing "privileged" foreigners over nationals stranded overseas

Oct 02, 2020

Canberra (Australia), October 2: The Australian government has come under fire for allowing wealthy foreigners into the country ahead of thousands of citizens stranded overseas amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Penny Wong, the foreign affairs spokesperson for the opposition Australian Labor Party, recently criticized the government for its decision to allow holders of business innovation and investment visas into Australia, who are granted entry conditions on par with Australian citizens and permanent residents, taking places in hotel quarantine away from Australians, according to The Guardian report.
According to the Australian Border Force (ABF), 31 foreign nationals with investment visas entered Australia in August.
Wong said Prime Minister Scott Morrison "must explain to stranded Australian citizens why they are not his priority."
"There may be very legitimate reasons for some of these people to enter the country, but these numbers show one person is being given the green light every day ahead of a stranded Australian who wants to come home," Wong said.
"Once again with Scott Morrison we see it's one rule for a privileged few, while stranded Australians are left behind," Wong noted.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said recently that at least 28,000 Australian nationals were stranded overseas after the government's cap on international arrivals to ease pressure on hotel quarantine systems caused a decline in flights to the country.
Airlines frustrated with the cap have admitted to cancelling economy class tickets so they can prioritize higher-paying customers and remain profitable under the caps, according to The Guardian.
Source: Xinhua News Agency