Article:

A state of flux: an update on the reopening of Australia

02 December 2021

Maria Jockel, Global and National Immigration Leader, Legal Principal, Accredited Specialist, Immigration Law |

Further to our recent migration alert The Reopening of Australia: removal of travel exemptions - BDO Australia, the Department of Home Affairs has advised of changed travel restrictions due to the potential risk associated with the Omicron variant.

This involves:

  1. A pause on travel to Australia from Omicron high-risk countries
  2. A delay in the reopening of Australia to certain visa holders from 1 December to 15 December.

1.  Pause on travel to Australia from Omicron high-risk counties

At this time, regardless of vaccination status and visa approval, all travellers from designated Omicron high-risk countries who have not yet entered Australia will not be permitted to travel to Australia. This supersedes previous advisories related to the easing of travel restrictions.

High risk countries

Travel to Australia has been banned if you have been in Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa or Zimbabwe over the last 14 days. There are some very limited exemptions to this, which includes Australian citizens and permanent residents. For other exemptions please refer to Travel restrictions | COVID-19 and the border (homeaffairs.gov.au).

What are the quarantine requirements?

Those who are exempt from this travel ban and are coming from a high-risk country will need to enter immediate supervised quarantine for 14 days.

Quarantine and testing requirements vary according to the state or territory of arrival – please check the Australian Government website for up-to-date information.

When will this change?

This pause on travel to Australia from Omicron high-risk countries will remain in place until further notice.

Restrictions may change at short notice and apply regardless of vaccination, visa status or for those holding a travel exemption.

2.  Delay in the reopening of Australia to certain visa holders

The proposed date to safely reopen Australia to international skilled and student cohorts, as well as humanitarian, working holiday maker and provisional family visa holders, has been deferred from 1 December to 15 December 2021.

The reopening to travellers from Japan and the Republic of Korea has also been delayed to 15 December.

Who is Australia’s border currently open to?

Australia’s border is closed to travellers except fully vaccinated Australian citizens, permanent residents and immediate family, and fully vaccinated green lane travellers from New Zealand and Singapore. There are some limited exemptions.

What are the quarantine requirements for entry into Australia?

Quarantine and testing requirements vary according to the state or territory of arrival – please check the Australian Government website for up-to-date information.

Should I seek assistance with my skilled worker visa?

Given the rapidly changing requirements around skilled migration, seeking specialist advice may provide you with certainty regarding your application for a skilled worker visa. Travel exemptions are still available for those who have a critical need to travel.

Please contact Maria Jockel, Global and National Immigration Leader, Legal Principal and Accredited Specialist in Immigration Law for expert advice in addressing skilled visa applications and migration related needs.