On the 15th December 2021, the Australian borders reopened for the first time since March 2020, meaning inbound and outbound travel is once again possible for those who meet the necessary requirements. Despite the easing of restrictions being delayed by a fortnight due to concerns over the Omicron variant, the country has finally begun its gradual recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Who can travel to Australia?
Travel to and from Australia is now possible for those who meet the required criteria, with specific requirements needing to be met before entry into the country is granted. Currently, those wishing to pass over the Australian border must:
- Be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
- Hold an eligible visa and be fully vaccinated
- Be a family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident
- Be a fully vaccinated international student or skilled worker with a visa
- A traveller transiting through Australia for 72 hours or less
Those who do not fit into the above categories must apply for an individual exemption from the Australian authorities in order to gain entry into the country. The full list of travel restrictions and available exemptions can be found on the Australian Government’s website.
Who has Australia formed travel bubbles with?
Australia has formed travel bubbles with countries deemed to be low risk, enabling fully vaccinated residents of selected countries to travel into the country without having to quarantine upon arrival. As a result, commercial flights from these countries have resumed as passengers can once again travel to Australia for leisure purposes. Australia is currently in a travel bubble with:
- South Korea
- New Zealand
Prior to travel to and from Australia’s international travel safe zones, travellers must present a negative Covid test and proof of their vaccination status.
Are there plans for further easing of travel restrictions?
Whilst Australian travel restrictions have been somewhat eased, the Minister for Health and Aged Care has announced that emergency measures will be extended for a further two months. This includes the restriction of travel from countries with high infection rates, mandatory testing for travellers leaving and entering the country and restrictions for unvaccinated travellers.
Going forward, the emergency measures will be reviewed according to the Covid-19 situation, however, Australia seems in no rush to end restrictions prematurely.
What does this mean for business?
Whilst travelling to Australia may still not be possible unless you hold the necessary exemption, things are looking hopeful for those wishing to improve business relations with the country for the first time since 2020.
Exemptions are currently available for those wishing to conduct business in the country who meet the required criteria. These include:
• Provisional Business Innovation and Investment visa
• Business Travel Card
• Critical skills & sectors visa
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