It’s been a long journey since Australia shut its international borders in May 2020 and allowed restricted numbers of citizens, permanent residents, and other exempt categories to enter the country in a bid to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The Australian Government recently relaxed the quarantine requirements for Australian citizens, permanent residents, their immediate family members, and other travellers who fall into one of the automatically exempt categories or are eligible to apply for and have been granted an exemption to travel here.
According to the Government, travellers may be eligible for reduced quarantine requirements when returning to Australia depending on the state or territory which they are travelling to.
Travellers returning to Australia may only enter and travel between NSW, Victoria, and the ACT without quarantining. You will need to comply with the quarantine requirements in the state or territory of your arrival, and any other state or territories that you plan to travel to.
To check quarantine arrangements, see State and Territory Information for travellers.
COVID-19 Omicron variant and its impact
In a further step towards resuming international travel, fully vaccinated eligible visa holders were expected to travel to Australia without the need to apply for a travel exemption beginning December 1. However, at the end of November, the federal government decided to postpone the easing of border restrictions to December 15 in response to the new Omicron variant.
The Omicron variant was first reported to the WHO by South Africa earlier this month, and it is currently being studied to see if it poses a greater threat than the Delta variant.
In response to the new variant, the Commonwealth banned non-citizens from the nine countries listed below from entering Australia: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Malawi, and Mozambique.
Furthermore, New South Wales and Victoria require all Australians returning from overseas to isolate for 72 hours, whereas other states require 14 days of managed quarantine for international arrivals.
Currently, Australia’s international border remains closed to all travellers except fully vaccinated Australian citizens, permanent residents, and their immediate family, as well as fully vaccinated “green lane” travellers from New Zealand and Singapore, and those with limited exemptions.
The full list of visa categories eligible to enter Australia once the restrictions are lifted
From 15 December 2021, fully vaccinated eligible visa holders can travel to Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption.
You are an eligible visa holder if you hold one of the following visas:
Subclass 163 – State/Territory Sponsored Business Owner Visa
Subclass 173 – Contributory Parent (Temporary) visa
Subclass 200 – Refugee visa
Subclass 201 – In-country Special Humanitarian visa
Subclass 202 – Global Special Humanitarian visa
Subclass 203 – Emergency Rescue visa
Subclass 204 – Woman at Risk visa
Subclass 300 – Prospective Marriage visa
Subclass 400 – Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa
Subclass 402 – Training and Research visa
Subclass 403 – Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (other streams, including Australian Agriculture Visa stream)
Subclass 405 – Investor Retirement visa
Subclass 407 – Training visa
Subclass 408 – Temporary Activity visa
Subclass 410 – Retirement visa
Subclass 417 – Working Holiday visa
Subclass 449 – Humanitarian Stay (Temporary) visa
Subclass 457 – Temporary Work (Skilled) visa
Subclass 461 – New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship visa
Subclass 462 – Work and Holiday visa
Subclass 476 – Skilled – Recognised Graduate visa
Subclass 482 – Temporary Skill Shortage visa
Subclass 485 – Temporary Graduate visa
Subclass 487 – Skilled – Regional Sponsored visa
Subclass 489 – Skilled – Regional (Provisional) visa
Subclass 491 – Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa
Subclass 494 – Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa
Subclass 500 – Student visa
Subclass 560 – Student Temporary Visa
Subclass 571 – Student Schools Sector Visa
Subclass 572 – Vocational Education and Training Sector Visa
Subclass 573 – Higher Education Sector Visa
Subclass 574 – Postgraduate Research Sector Visa
Subclass 575 – Non-Award Sector Visa
Subclass 580 – Student Guardian visa
Subclass 590 – Student Guardian visa
Subclass 785 – Temporary Protection visa
Subclass 786 – Temporary Humanitarian Concern visa
Subclass 790 – Safe Haven Enterprise visa
Subclass 870 – Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa
Subclass 884 – Contributory Aged Parent (Temporary) visa
Subclass 988 – Maritime Crew visa
The immigration profession is waiting on clarification as to the status of Bridging Visa holders.
Additional visa subclasses may be added over time. However, exemptions will still be required for other visa categories until further notice. To find out more, click here: Travel restrictions and exemptions.
This post was originally published on https://hammondtaylor.com.au/
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Vaccination requirements when leaving or travelling to Australia
Australia considers you to be fully vaccinated if you have completed a course of a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved or recognised vaccine. This includes mixed doses. Current vaccines and dosages accepted for the purposes of travel are:
Two doses at least 14 days apart of:
Moderna Spikevax or Takeda
Bharat Biotech Covaxin
Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV (for 18-60 year olds).
Or one dose of:
Johnson & Johnson/ Janssen-Cilag COVID Vaccine.
The TGA is evaluating other COVID-19 vaccines that may be recognised for the purposes of travel to Australia in future. The most up-to-date information on approved and recognised vaccines is available on the TGA website.
At least 7 days must have passed since the final dose of vaccine in a course of immunisation for you to be considered fully vaccinated. Mixed doses count towards being fully vaccinated as long as all vaccines are approved or recognised by the TGA.
If you have not been vaccinated with the above doses or schedule, you do not meet Australia’s definition of ‘fully vaccinated.’ This includes instances where the dosing schedule or vaccine eligibility differs in your country of origin. There are some exceptions to this as outlined below.
Immigration and the law
Legislation about immigration changes frequently. For example, in June 2021 Australia added 22 new occupations to its priority migration list. So, it’s important to check the Australian Department of Home Affairs website for changes that may apply to you. And, if you are interested in Australian student visas, work visas, or looking to migrate permanently, you need to lodge an application with the Australian Government. You may want to consider getting support from a lawyer or migration agent.