The Department of Home Affairs website says from 15 December 2021 valid visa holders can travel to Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption.
Many people have been eagerly waiting for any information on the upcoming easing of border restrictions for fully vaccinated eligible visa holders and citizens from overseas.
The Australian government had paused the planned easing of border restrictions for eligible visa holders, including international students while awaiting further information on COVID-19’s Omicron.
No official announcement has been made to lift off the pause yet. However, the Department of Home Affairs website says from 15 December 2021, fully vaccinated eligible visa holders can travel to Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption. This includes eligible visa holders in Australia seeking to depart and return.
Here is what the Department of Home Affairs told NRI Affairs:
The website’s page related to ‘Travel restrictions and Eemptions’ clearly states, “You are automatically exempt from the travel restrictions and can enter Australia (without obtaining an individual exemption) if you are a fully vaccinated person who holds a valid visa listed on the New arrangements for eligible visa holders (from 15 December 2021).”
NRI Affairs has sought a clarification on the information, but the department is yet to respond. The Department of Home Affairs website was last updated on 09 December 2021.
A media statement released by the Prime Minister on 10 December says National Cabinet noted the steps taken by the Commonwealth to adjust Australia’s international border settings in a manner consistent with a suppression strategy, and proportionate to the current health information on Omicron.
“As more evidence relating to disease severity, transmissibility and vaccine effectiveness becomes available, the Commonwealth will continue to consider Australia’s international border settings in a manner consistent with a suppression strategy. The Commonwealth continues to welcome Australian citizens, permanent residents and their families, New Zealand citizens, Singaporean citizens and other cohorts of travellers already approved for travel, including seasonal workers and international student pilots,” it said.
International students can travel
The Department of Education has released a statement saying that Australia’s borders will reopen to fully vaccinated international students and Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders from 15 December 2021.
On 22 November 2021, the Prime Minister announced the easing of border restrictions to enable the return of international students to Australia. Due to the emergence of the Omicron variant of concern, on 29 November 2021 the Australian Government announced the necessary and temporary decision to pause the reopening of Australia from 1 December 2021 until 15 December 2021.
“From 15 December 2021 fully vaccinated international students with a valid visa no longer need an exemption to travel to Australia,” Reads the statement.