With international travel borders open and flights arriving and leaving Australian shores, many changes are coming into effect especially when it comes to visas.
The federal government has announced that from 1st December 2021, travel exemptions will no longer apply for the following visas:
- 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
Holders of all other visa are still required to apply for a travel exemption. Holders of a Subclass 600 visa are no longer required to obtain a travel exemption.
While this will encourage overseas workers to return to Australia, it’s not a quick fix. There has been a shortage of workers for nearly two years so it may take a couple of years for the number of visa holders to increase to numbers we saw prior to the pandemic.
Some things to consider
It’s great that the borders are open, and the government is trying to make it easier for overseas workers to come to Australia, but those workers must want to come to Australia. Even though people can travel there is still a reluctance to do so by many.
Also, is this a time for businesses to re-evaluate where their workers come from? Will they still want to hire offshore, or will they take the opportunity to hire locally? Businesses all over the world have had to adapt and make changes to the way they operate since the start of the pandemic. As with anything, some changes work well, others don’t so this may be the time to assess what changes are worth keeping including the hiring of staff.
While holders of the above-mentioned visas can enter Australia without a travel exemption, all visa holders need to be vaccinated with a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved or recognised vaccine. Travellers will need to show proof of vaccination to airline staff whether in the form of an International Covid-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC) or a Foreign Vaccination Certificate.
Queensland and Western Australia
Given Queensland and Western Australia are maintaining strict border controls, holders of the visas that do not require travel exemptions will be required to quarantine for two weeks at their own cost if there are travelling to either of these states. This condition applies regardless of whether they are entering via an international flight or from interstate.
While you could say Australia is open, it’s not fully open. These changes help with Australia moving forward but it will be a gradual process to get Australia back to where it once was in terms of travel and migration.
If you would like to learn more about any aspect of migration, contact the team at Visa Solutions of 1800 828 008.
While Australian borders are currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, travel exemptions may apply under the following circumstances:
- A traveller has a compassionate or compelling reason to visit Australia
- Overseas workers holding a Subclass 482 or 400 visa are required to undertake a job in Australia that cannot be filled by a local employee.
Visa Solutions Australia has been successful in acquiring a broad range of exemptions, from critical workers to those needing to travel on compassionate grounds.