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AUSTRALIA: Travel Restrictions Ending for Eligible Visa Holders [Updated 30 November 2021]
November 30, 2021
UPDATE: The reopening of borders has been delayed to 15 December 2021 due to concerns about the new Omicron COVID strain. Migrants who have been in South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, or Malawi in the last 14 days – regardless of holding an exemption or not – are unable to travel to Australia at this time.
From 15 December 2021, eligible visa holders who have been fully vaccinated with a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) recognized vaccine will be free to travel to and from Australia without the need to first apply for a Travel Exemption.
Requirements to be Considered Fully Vaccinated
Aligning with requirements for Australian Citizens and Permanent residents, in order to be considered fully vaccinated by Australian authorities, individuals must meet the following conditions:
- Completed a course of a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved or recognized vaccine:
- Two doses at least 14 days apart of:
- AstraZeneca Vaxzevria
- AstraZeneca Covishield
- Pfizer/Biontech Comirnaty
- Moderna Spikevax
- Sinovac Coronavac
- Bharat Biotech Covaxin
- Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV (for 18-60 year olds).
- Or one dose of:
- Johnson & Johnson/ Janssen-Cilag COVID Vaccine.
- At least seven (7) days must have passed since the final dose of the applicable vaccine.
- Mixed doses will be accepted as long as all vaccines are approved or recognized by the TGA.
- Two doses at least 14 days apart of:
Travelers must produce one of the following as proof of their vaccination status (or acceptable medical exemption):
- International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate – for those individuals vaccinated in Australia; or
- Foreign Vaccination Certificate – for those individuals vaccinated outside of Australia; or
- Proof of Medical Exemption – for those individuals who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. Children under the age of 12 are deemed ‘fully vaccinated’ for travel purposes. Additional guidance on medical exemptions can be found here.
Eligible Visa Subclasses
A number of key visa types for Australian businesses are included in the list of eligible subclasses, allowing employers access to a larger pool of skilled and semi-skilled workers to meet operational needs. These include:
- Subclass 457 and 482 – Temporary Work (Skilled) and Skills Shortage visas
- Subclass 400 – Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa
- Subclass 494 – Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa
- Subclass 403 – Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (other streams, including Australian Agriculture Visa stream)
- Subclass 407 – Training visa
- Subclass 408 – Temporary Activity visa
- Subclass 988 – Maritime Crew visa
- Subclass 476 – Skilled – Recognised Graduate visa
- Subclass 485 – Temporary Graduate visa
- Subclass 489 – Skilled – Regional (Provisional) visa
- Subclass 491 – Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa
Working Holiday and Student
- Subclass 417 and 462 – Working Holiday or Work and Holiday visas
- Subclass 500 – Student visa
- Subclass 580 – Student Guardian visa (closed to new applicants)
- Subclass 590 – Student Guardian visa
Family members of Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents not currently able to access exemptions have also been added:
- Subclass 300 – Prospective Marriage visa
- Subclass 461 – New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship visa
- Subclass 870 – Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa
While a number of refugee and humanitarian visas round out the list (Subclass 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 449, 785, and 790).
Unfortunately, the list of eligible subclasses does not include Bridging Visa holders waiting for a new eligible subclass to be granted, nor does it include New Zealand Citizens who do not otherwise meet exemption requirements.
Currently, quarantine-free travel only applies to those entering and traveling within New South Wales, Victoria, or the Australian Capital Territory.
Eligible visa holders wish to enter or travel to any other State or Territory must check quarantine arrangements before commencing their trip. Information from each State and Territory Government is available here.
Newland Chase Insights
The lifting of the outbound travel restrictions for fully vaccinated Australians is welcome news for multinational companies, individuals, and families alike. As the Australian vaccination rates continue to climb, Newland Chase looks forward to additional restrictions being eased and lifted in accordance with health authorities’ guidance.
As always, if you have any questions regarding this announcement and how it affects you or your business, please do not hesitate to reach out to your Newland Chase dedicated contact or submit an enquiry here.