Good news for all international travellers to Australia! The international borders closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 are reopening exactly after 2 years. However, only fully-vaccinated people can enter the country.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had said that the new border rules would come into effect from 21 February. While making the announcement, he clearly said that everyone planning to come to Australia should receive a double dose of vaccine, and no one is exempt from this rule.
Because the international borders remained closed for a long period, tourism organisations faced a great loss in their business. That is why upon hearing this news, they started rejoicing.
Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews further added that if an unvaccinated traveller wants to come to Australia, they have to make an application for a travel exemption and stay in quarantine once they reach after being granted travel permission.
While a full course of a vaccine means a double dose in most cases, the Australian Government approved a single dose of some international vaccines. One of the key examples is the vaccine manufactured by Johnson and Johnson.
However, which term will be used between ‘fully vaccinated’ and ‘up to date with vaccinations’ in the case of childhood vaccines is still not decided by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation. If any change is made to the definition, ‘up to date’ vaccines will also include booster shots.
Mentioning the incident regarding Serbian tennis great Novak Djokovic, Mr Morrison had made it clear that even if someone has the right visa to come to Australia, the Government will not allow them to enter if they have no travel exemption or do not receive full doses of vaccination.
The Australian Government has slowly started to lift the border restrictions for certain countries. First, citizens from New Zealand got the permission, while tourists from South Korea and Japan started receiving the permission most recently.
After remaining closed for two years, international travel to Australia will start again. Thus, anyone with a valid visa can come to the ‘Land Down Under’. However, state-based quarantine rules will still be in effect.
International tourists who have received a full vaccination dose can now enter Australia. All kinds of tourists and business travellers fall into this category. Recently, an unfortunate incident occurred surrounding the 20-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia and the Australian Open authority, who refused to receive a vaccine. Mr Morrison pointed out that people should understand from this incident that everyone must be fully vaccinated to enter Australia regardless of their status.
However, if someone has not received a vaccination because of a certain medical condition and wants to enter Australia, they must show proof of that medical reason. Upon entering Australia, they will have to adhere to state-based quarantine rules.
On Monday, international travel will resume from 21 February 2022, provided the travellers have a valid visa.
The international travel conditions for Australia are as follows.
• Every visa holder should be fully vaccinated.
• Any individual with a significant medical condition must provide valid proof.
• Some states continue with quarantine arrangements. People coming to those states have to stay in quarantine upon arrival. Otherwise, quarantine arrangements have been lifted.
As per rules, everyone must receive two doses of a TGA-approved vaccine, such as Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Novavax. TGA also recognises sputnik and Johnson and Johnson vaccines.
The meaning of ‘fully vaccinated’ may be updated by ATAGI to two doses and a booster. However, the entry requirement is the first two doses.
Depending on the individuals’ states, they may need to undertake a rapid antigen or RT-PCR upon arrival. Separate state and territorial governments had not announced their conditions.
Except for Western Australia, other states will adhere to the recent announcement. New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland had already scrapped the quarantine requirements. For some states, it will be required to undergo an RT-PCR or rapid antigen test.
For more information and expert guidance on such matters, consult with Registered Migration Agent at ISA Migrations & Education Consultants, they will always be there to help.