Effective December 1, 2021, the Australian government will allow fully vaccinated travelers holding a Subclass 482 – Temporary Skills Shortage visa to travel to Australia without applying for a travel exemption. The announcement follows the loosening of travel restrictions for Australian citizens and permanent residents and marks a significant step in the country’s reopening of its borders to international travel.
Updated Entry Guidelines
Under the updated guidelines effective December 1, travelers seeking to enter Australia must:
- Be fully vaccinated with a completed dosage of a vaccine approved by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA);
- Hold a valid visa for one of the eligible visa subclasses, such as a 482 visa;
- Provide proof of their vaccination status; and
- Present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within three days of departure.
Travelers must also comply with any quarantine requirements in the state or territory of their arrival, as well as any state or territory to which they plan to travel.
Eligible Visa Subclasses
As of December 1, the list of visa subclasses that are eligible for exemption-free travel to Australia will include, among other categories:
- Subclass 482 – Temporary Skills Shortage visas;
- Subclass 400 – Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa;
- Subclass 403 – Temporary Work (International Relations) visa;
- Subclass 417 – Working Holiday visas; and
- Subclass 500 – Student visas.
The Subclass 482 visa is a temporary work visa that allows employers to sponsor skilled workers to fill positions for which no qualified Australian worker is available. Loosening entry restrictions on 482 visa holders is seen as a means of filling critical labor gaps in Australia’s economy as the country seeks to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Notable visa categories that are not included in the updated travel guidelines include those for international tourism. A full list of visas that can enter Australia without the need of a travel exemption can be found using this link.
Recognized Vaccines and Proof of Vaccination Status
For travel purposes, the Australian government will consider an individual to be “fully vaccinated” if they have completed a course of a TGA-approved or recognized vaccine, including mix doses. The current vaccines and dosages accepted for purposes of travel are:
- One dose of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine; or
- Two doses, at least 14 days apart, of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, Bharat Biotech, or Sinopharm vaccines.
At least seven days must have passed since the final dose of vaccine in a course of immunization for the traveler to be considered fully vaccinated. Travelers must present a foreign vaccination certificate as proof of immunization.