And we are open! After a temporary delay, the Australian international border is open (as of December 15, 2021) and we are now set to start welcoming 200,000 eligible highly skilled migrants and international students to the country as part of the final stages of the National Reopening Plan.
Originally due to open on December 1, 2021, the border was kept shut as the government gathered more information on the new Omicron Covid variant.
This spells great news for double-vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents, eligible temporary visa holders, and citizens of Japan and South Korea, who are now eligible to travel into Australia just in time for Christmas.
However, there are still some restrictions, plus mandatory requirements in place, which you now need to know.
Information for travellers from Southern Africa
Temporary travel restrictions have been lifted for travellers who have been in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Malawi and Mozambique in the last 14 days. (Source: Australia.gov.au).
At this stage, there are no direct flights from Southern African to Australia and only Australian citizens, permanent residents, immediate family members, parents and eligible visa holders are able to enter Australia.
Please note, Australian international border restrictions are likely to change with short notice.
What travellers coming to Australia need to know now
Effective 15 December, 2021, the following travellers will be automatically exempt to travel to Australia, and will no longer require a travel exemption:
- A fully vaccinated Japanese citizen travelling from Japan and arriving into a participating Australian state or territory that allows fully vaccinated travellers to arrive quarantine free (from December 15, 2021).
- A fully vaccinated citizen of the Republic of South Korea (South Korea), travelling from South Korea and arriving into a participating Australian state or territory that allows fully vaccinated travellers to arrive quarantine free (from December 15, 2021).
- A fully vaccinated person who holds a valid eligible visa listed under the new arrangements for eligible visa holders (from December 15, 2021).
Who is eligible to travel to Australia?
“Eligible visa holders” include holders of skilled work, working holiday, student, and humanitarian visas such as the following:
- Subclass 400 Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa
- Subclass 407 Training visa – Immigration and citizenship
- Subclass 408 Temporary Activity visa
- Subclass 417 Working Holiday visa
- Subclass 462 Work and Holiday visa
- Subclass 457 Temporary Work (Skilled) visa
- Subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage visa
- Subclass 485 Temporary Graduate visa
- Subclass 489 Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa
- Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa
- Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa
For the full list of eligible visas click here.
Other travellers and visa holders to Australia may be able to enter without a travel exemption if they are fully vaccinated and automatically exempt from Australia’s travel restrictions, including:
- An Australian citizen.
- A permanent resident of Australia.
- An immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
- A New Zealand citizen, usually a resident in Australia and their immediate family members.
- A person who has been in New Zealand or Australia for 14 days or more immediately prior to arrival by air in Australia.
- A diplomat accredited to Australia, including their immediate family members (each member of the family unit must hold a valid subclass 995 visa).
- A person transiting in Australia for 72 hours or less.
- Airline crew and maritime crew, including marine pilots.
- A person recruited under the Government-approved Seasonal Worker Program or Pacific Labour Scheme.
- A person who holds a Business Innovation and Investment (subclass 188) visa.
- A person who holds a Temporary Activity (subclass 408) visa in the ‘Post COVID-19 Economic Recovery Event’ stream and who is supported by the Global Business and Talent Attraction Taskforce.
- A fully vaccinated Singapore citizen travelling from Singapore and arriving into a participating Australian state or territory that allows fully vaccinated travellers to arrive quarantine free.
All other people seeking to travel to Australia must apply for a travel exemption.
Fully vaccinated immediate family members of Australian citizens and permanent residents may also be able to enter Australia outside of passenger caps to states and territories with modified or no quarantine requirements, subject to first obtaining a travel exemption.
Source: Home Affairs
State quarantine and post-arrival testing requirements
Fully vaccinated travellers who are exempt from travel restrictions, may be eligible for reduced quarantine requirements when coming to Australia. However, this can vary depending on quarantine arrangements in the state or territory.
Travellers need to comply with quarantine and post-arrival testing requirements in the state or territory of their arrival, and any other state or territories that you plan to travel to.
New South Wales and Victoria require Covid testing and 72 hours of isolation requirements for Australian citizens, permanent residents and immediate family members on arrival into Australia. In other states, 14 days of managed quarantine is required, and traveller cap arrangements are in place.
Post-arrival requirements may change at short notice and travellers must check the most recent arrival requirements.
All travellers to Australia must complete a Australian Travel Declaration (ATD)
All travellers into Australia must make a declaration regarding their travel history within the last 14 days and undertake post-arrival testing that is in line with state and territory requirements.
The Australian Government states when filling out the ATD travellers must:
- Upload their vaccination certificate.
- Make a legally binding declaration in relation to their vaccination status.
- Acknowledge when they check-in for their flight, they must present evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 3 days of their flight’s scheduled departure to Australia (unless medically exempt).
- Make a declaration regarding their last 14 days’ travel history.
- Make a declaration that they:
- Will comply with the quarantine requirements of the state/territory of first arrival and any other state/territory to which they intend to travel; and
- Have made quarantine arrangements prior to travel where required.
Penalties apply to those who don’t comply with these requirements.
Source: Home Affairs
If you are a traveller leaving Australia
If you are a fully vaccinated Australian citizen or permanent resident, you will be able to depart Australia without needing a travel exemption.
If you are unvaccinated, please get in touch with the team at TMA to check whether you are eligible for travel or if you will need a travel exemption.
Temporary visa holders in Australia can depart Australia at any time, however, may require an exemption to return to Australia if they do not hold an eligible visa (for example, a bridging visa holder). Please check with us if this is you or someone in your organisation.
Information regading the Australian international border reopening can change quickly. Please get in touch with us if you have any questions in relation to your organisation and its visa holders here.