Australian Borders to Open for Students and Skilled Workers

Brisbane Airport. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Morrison Government announces new changes to COVID-19 Australian border restrictions

This week the Morrison Government announced major changes to border restrictions which will benefit our regional workforce and economy. On the 22nd of November, 2021, following the rate of double-dose vaccinations for citizens over the age of 16 reaching 85%, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that Australian border restrictions will be eased further as of the 1st of December in what he described as a "major milestone" in Australia's path to normality. What this means is that fully vaccinated international students and fully vaccinated individuals with valid visas will be able to enter Australia without having to seek an exemption.

The Government expects an influx of approximately 200,000 elgible skilled workers, international students, and refugees, to enter the country between the beginning of this new phase in December and the end of January 2022. Prime Minister Scott Morrison described these changes as being the boost to Australia's economy it had needed for almost two years, and went on to say that it is time to "start looking to (bring back) the skilled workers that are needed to ensure we are able to take full advantage of the economic recovery that we are working to secure". Many major regional industries including mining and agriculture are expected to benefit from this.

As well as these changes, Australia is also set to open a travel bubble with Japan and South Korea on 1st December, adding to the bubble that opened with Singapore recently. This means that fully vaccinated citizens of Singapore, Japan, and South Korea with a valid visa will be able to travel to Australia without undergoing hotel quarantine upon arrival, provided that before leaving they quarantine for 72 hours at home, and return a negative COVID test taken during those hours.

Adding to the Prime Minister's comments, Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the following; "Both skilled workers and international students play an essential role in our economy. We know international students are worth $40 billion, and we know there are work skill shortages about there, and skilled workers can play a role. Whether it's in hospitality, construction, mining or agriculture across the broader economy. There is a need to bring back those skilled workers and help build our economy back stronger as we recover from Covid-19."

For further information

For more information on these changes, read through the official government page on Australian border restrictions here, or watch the full statement from Scott Morrison is available here.

The list of VISAs that are eligable under the new reforms has been included below:

Subclass 200 – Refugee visa

Subclass 201 – In-country Special Humanitarian visa

Subclass 202 – Global Special Humanitarian visa

Subclass 203 – Emergency Rescue visa

Subclass 204 – Woman at Risk visa

Subclass 300 – Prospective Marriage visa

Subclass 400 – Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) 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 417 – Working Holiday visa

Subclass 449 – Humanitarian Stay (Temporary) visa

Subclass 457 – Temporary Work (Skilled) visa

Subclass 461 – New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship visa

Subclass 462 – Work and Holiday visa

Subclass 476 – Skilled – Recognised Graduate visa

Subclass 482 – Temporary Skill Shortage visa

Subclass 485 – Temporary Graduate visa

Subclass 489 – Skilled – Regional (Provisional) visa

Subclass 491 – Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa

Subclass 494 – Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa

Subclass 500 – Student visa

Subclass 580 – Student Guardian visa (closed to new applicants)

Subclass 590 – Student Guardian visa

Subclass 785 – Temporary Protection visa

Subclass 790 – Safe Haven Enterprise visa

Subclass 870 – Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa

Subclass 988 – Maritime Crew visa