On 22 November, 2021, the Australian Government announced a major change to our borders.
From 1 December 2021 temporary visa holders on certain visas will be free to enter Australia for the first time since the onset of Covid-19 and the shutting of the international borders in March 2020
This change applies to people so long as:
- They are double-vaccinated with one of the approved vaccines, and
- They hold one of the temporary visas made eligible for this exemption
What this means is that these visa holders will no longer have to apply for a (rarely given) exemption for a temporary visa holder to enter Australia. They can now come subject to flight availability and pre-flight vaccination and testing requirements.
The list of eligible vaccines is:
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.
And the list of eligible visas is reasonably large but of most relevance to employers are:
- Subclass 400 – Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa
- Subclass 408 – Temporary Activity visa
- Subclass 417 – Working Holiday visa
- Subclass 457 – Temporary Work (Skilled) visa
- Subclass 462 – Work and Holiday visa
- Subclass 482 – Temporary Skill Shortage visa
- Subclass 485 – Temporary Graduate visa
- Subclass 500 – Student visa
One important thing to note is that the state they enter will dictate the quarantine requirement, with only those entering NSW, the ACT and Victoria being able to avoid mandatory 14 day quarantine.
As ever, this is no guarantee around visa processing times so given the current backlog at the Department of Home Affairs, the grant of these visas will most likely still be some time off. However, this is great news for those companies currently experiencing severe skill shortages without access to overseas talent.
There is a full run-down of the changes on the Department’s website here: https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/vaccinated-travellers
If you have any queries about this news please don’t hesitate to get in touch with DMA Migration.