Under a plan Prime Minister Scott Morrison will take to state and territory leaders at a national cabinet meeting, foreign students will have their 40-hour-a-fortnight working cap lifted in affected sectors. Furthermore, isolation rules for close contacts in trucking, aviation and logistics will also be relaxed, moving the sectors in line with lighter rules already raised for food and grocery distribution workers who are asymptomatic and rapid test negative.
Australia is seeing its COVID case count increase exponentially, logging a total of one million cases since the pandemic began. Yet half of these cases erupted only in the past week.
Few days back, authorities in New South Wales and Queensland announced the easing of restrictions concerning workers forced to quarantine.
In a statement on Sunday, health officials in NSW said: "Critical workers in the food logistics and manufacturing sectors furloughed as close contacts will be permitted to leave self-isolation to attend work if they have no symptoms of COVID-19, to ensure the state has continued access to essential goods."
As more sectors flag the concern of staff shortage and delay in services, the Commonwealth works on a list of essential services with advice from health officials about which workers should face less strict isolation rules, with healthcare, aged care, childcare and construction under deliberation.
The talent crisis is an older problem that is yet to be solved. The numbers from Australian Bureau of Statistics suggest that businesses are looking for talent but are not able to fill job vacancies. Closed borders and the lack of access to foreign talent continues to stress the economy.
After business groups pressed to increase the cap on the permitted working hours of foreign students, the government has agreed to consider increasing the 40-hour a fortnight cap for foreign students while they are studying. It is likely to be further doubled to 80 hours a fortnight or the equivalent of 40 hours a week.