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Jesper Albrekt, Global Immigration Manager for K2 Singapore and the APAC region explains:

After deferring the official date from 1st December due to fears around the impact of Omicron, the Australian Federal Government has today (15th December) re-opened their international borders. This means that a number of visa holders who are fully vaccinated can now enter Australia from today and onwards. This mainly applies to work visa holders, dependents and a number of others (see the full list below).

Impacts on visa processing
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, visa processing has been suspended for almost all applicants unless a travel exemption could be obtained. This requirement is now removed for most of the work visa types, which means that companies can now submit visa applications and expect approvals without a travel exemption.

However, despite the reduced administrative burden, visa processing may still be significantly delayed due to the backlog of applicants. At this stage we are unsure how visa applications are allocated to officers, but we are starting to see approvals coming through. It is also not yet fully clear how the Department of Home Affairs will review if applicants are vaccinated before approving a visa, but we are proactively monitoring the situation for further information and will update clients when we know more.

Entering Australia
To enter Australia, an applicant must hold one of the below visa categories and be fully vaccinated. The visa must be approved and valid. If the visa is only applied for but not yet granted, the applicant is not eligible to travel to Australia.

Quarantine restrictions 
It should be noted that quarantine requirements remain state mandated and are subject to change so we recommend clients check the relevant state requirements before travelling. For example, some states only require three days of self-isolation, while others may require a longer quarantine.

Eligible vaccinated visa holders
Other than being fully vaccinated, below are the visa subclasses that are allowed entry to Australia from today (15th December 2021) onwards.

  • Subclass 163 – State/Territory Sponsored Business Owner visa
  • Subclass 173 – Contributory Parent (Temporary) visa
  • 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 402 – Training and Research visa
  • Subclass 403 – Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (other streams, including Australian Agriculture Visa stream)
  • Subclass 405 – Investor Retirement visa
  • Subclass 407 – Training visa
  • Subclass 408 – Temporary Activity visa
  • Subclass 410 – Retirement 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 487 – Skilled – Regional Sponsored 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 560 – Student Temporary visa
  • Subclass 571 – Student Schools Sector visa
  • Subclass 572 – Vocational Education and Training Sector visa
  • Subclass 573 – Higher Education Sector visa
  • Subclass 574 – Postgraduate Research Sector visa
  • Subclass 575 – Non-Award Sector visa
  • Subclass 580 – Student Guardian visa
  • Subclass 590 – Student Guardian visa
  • Subclass 785 – Temporary Protection visa
  • Subclass 786 – Temporary Humanitarian Concern visa
  • Subclass 790 – Safe Haven Enterprise visa
  • Subclass 870 – Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa
  • Subclass 884 – Contributory Aged Parent (Temporary) visa
  • Subclass 988 – Maritime Crew visa

If you would like to know more or need assistance with related immigration matters please contact our K2 immigration specialists –

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