The Prime Minister’s announcement regarding the reopening of the international borders, this Wednesday (December 1), is a step in the right direction for the future of Australia and our economy, and will greatly impact existing visa holders, families who have been separated by the pandemic and organisations seeking to fill skills shortages.
As Australia moves into the final phase of the National Reopening Plan, more than 200,000 visa holders will be brought into the country, including students, economic migrants and refugees. International border restrictions will ease reuniting families and increasing mobility again and putting Australia on course to resume pre-Covid overseas travel levels, with the immediate focus on skilled migration as a priority.
During the pandemic we saw a mass exodus of highly skilled migrants as they were forced to leave the country leaving skills shortages in many industries, however, we know that migration is the driving force of Australia’s wealth and economic well-being.
With the doors to the international border having been shut for almost two years, the Prime Minister’s recent announcements are fantastic news for double vaccinated eligible visa holders who are eligible for travel into Australia without the need for a border exemption, which will now become obsolete to holders of eligible visas.
According to economists, our population growth will be “a key means of economic recovery and post-pandemic growth” and resuming immigration and mobility will be the means needed to help rebuild Australia.
It’s why Australian bureaucrats are pushing for 2 million migrants to make Australia home in the next five years.
Eligible visa holders include skilled and student cohorts, as well as humanitarian, working holiday makers and provisional family visa holders, and fully vaccinated citizens from Japan and the Republic of Korea.
The Home Affairs website states: “Fully vaccinated Australian citizens, permanent residents and eligible visa holders can travel to and from Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption.”
The list of eligible visas include the following work visas commonly used by our clients:
- 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 a full list of eligible visas please visit the Department of Home Affairs website.
Under these arrangements, these visa-holders must:
- Be fully vaccinated with a completed dosage of a vaccine approved or recognised by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
- Hold a valid visa for one of the eligible visa subclasses.
- Provide proof of their vaccination status.
- Present a negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test taken within three days of departure.
Permanent residence pathways and concessions
Meanwhile, the latest updates in relation to reopening Australia’s borders also provide permanent residence pathways for health and hospitality 482/457 visa holders. These arrangements include:
- Eligible skilled visa holders already in Australia,
- Primarily working in health, hospitality and the regions, and
- Who are existing SC 482 visa holders in the short-term stream and legacy SC 457 holders who can no longer meet the age requirement.
Reopening Australia’s borders: Additional changes to benefit skilled visa holders include:
- SC 489, 491 and 494 visa holders will have current visas and expired visas extended to allow extra time to meet permanent residency requirements.
- Regional provisional visa holders offshore will also be eligible for an extension of their visas.
The border reopening is a rapidly changing situation and there will be further changes and updates, which we will keep you updated. For now, it’s important for you to know how the border reopening will affect you, your business and your employees. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at The Migration Agency.