Australia opening borders for international travel
Updated: Feb 8
Australian borders have opened for eligible visa holders in mid December 2021 after 22 months of the strictest border closure the country has ever seen. The part opening was a huge relief for many overseas nationals, some of them suffered dozens of refusals to their exemption to travel applications. For the past two months the eligible visa holders were able to reunite with loved ones, and return to work and study in Australia.
The part opening of the Australian borders did not include a cohort of overseas nationals who were stuck in Australia as the holders of bridging visas, waiting on the processing of their substantive visas. They were not allowed the freedom to travel internationally and return to Australia without exemptions and continued to receive rejections on their travel exemption applications. Home Affairs told 7.30 that the remaining travel restrictions "balance the need to safely reopen… with the need to protect Australians from COVID-19."
On Thursday of last week, the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that NZ citizens stranded in Australia due to lack of spots in quarantine will be able to return home from 27 February, as New Zealand intends to start opening up allowing for a ten day self managed home quarantine. International students and migrant workers and few other eligible visa holders, will be allowed to return to New Zealand from mid-April and isolate at home. Those applying for a New Zealand visas now can expect to enter New Zealand in October.
Following that announcement of our neighbours, on Sunday of last week, the Australian Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews made comments that "opening the borders to international tourists is a priority" pending final health advice.
Ms Andrews said: "To be able to enter Australia, if you are a non-Australian, you need to have a valid visa and you need to demonstrate that you are fully vaccinated or that you have medical evidence to say that you cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons." International tourists who do not meet the COVID-19 safety precautions could be deported, just like the number one ranked tennis player Novak Djokovic.
The Australian Prime Minister today announced borders will open for double vaccinated travellers from 21 February 2022.
If interested to review the joint media statementy about the reopening of Australia to tourists and other international travellers to secure our economic recovery released by the Hon. Scott Morrison MP, with the Hon. Greg Hunt MP and the Hon. Dan Tehan MP
Despite the lack of clarity as to when the Australian border restrictions will be lifted, the border opening being in sight was most welcomed news for the immigrant community of Australia.
Navigating the Australian borders remains complex, contact Assent Migration Lawyers to help you find the best pathway for your unique circumstances.