International students fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be allowed to enter Australia from next week, after more than 600 days of being barred from entry.
The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that starting December 1, for the first time since borders closed in March 2020, fully vaccinated eligible visa holders, including international students, skilled workers as well as humanitarian, working holiday and provisional family visa holders, will not need to apply for travel exemptions.
“The return of skilled workers and students to Australia is a major milestone in our pathway back. It’s a major milestone about what Australians have been able to achieve and enable us to do,” Morrison said.
According to him, Australia can take full advantage of the economic recovery from the return of eligible groups, as the country has been in need for skilled workers.
A joint media statement from the Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for Home Affairs, Minister for Education and Youth, and Minister for Women, noted that the new changes would ensure that the government continues to protect the health of Australians while reuniting families and securing country’s economic recovery by welcoming skilled and student visa holders.
Under the new international border arrangements, all travelers entering Australia from December 1 must:
- be fully vaccinated with a vaccine recognized by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)
- hold a valid visa for one of the eligible visa subclasses
- provide proof of vaccination
- present a negative COVID-19 (PCR) test performed within three days of departure
“Travellers to Australia must comply with the quarantine requirements in the state or territory of their arrival, and any other state or territory to which they plan to travel,” the statement adds.
According to the statement, Australia will also open to fully vaccinated citizens from Japan and the Republic of Korea as of December 1.
Arrangements foresee citizens of Japan and the Republic of Korea who are holders of a valid Australian visa to travel from their home countries without needing to undergo quarantine to participating states and territories and without needing to seek a travel exemption.
These travelers should initially depart from their home country, they must be fully vaccinated with a TGA-approved vaccine, should hold a valid Australian visa, provide proof of their vaccination as well as submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test performed within three days of departure.
According to government’s data, there are some 235,000 eligible visa holders who would be ready to travel to Australia under the relaxed restrictions, including a total of 162,000 international students.