Visa Update - November 2021
The announcement of Australia’s border safely reopening to vaccinated travellers in New South Wales, the ACT and Victoria from 1st November was extremely welcome news. Fully vaccinated travellers of a vaccine recognised by the TGA are now longer required to enter mandatory 14 day hotel quarantine, nor quarantine at home for 7 days. They are, however, required to be tested upon arrival and between day 5 and 7 after entering the state.
The Federal Government’s focus was squarely set on Australians, Australian residents and their families. So, what does this mean for skilled migrants?
In New South Wales, there is now no cap on fully vaccinated international travellers entering the state (210 unvaccinated travellers per week). This has eased the pressure on obtaining flights into Sydney and we are expecting less passengers to be bumped off flights at the last minute.
There are currently no international flights arriving into the ACT. The vast majority of travellers therefore fly into Sydney, NSW. Fully vaccinated travellers who meet pre-departure testing requirements are eligible to transfer directly onto the ACT and enter the community without the need for quarantine or self-isolation.
The Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List remains in place and limited to 44 occupations. Effective 1st December, it will no longer be a requirement for skilled migrants and their families to obtain a travel exemption to enter the country. This is a significant shift of the government towards
The Immigration Minister, Alex Hawke MP, has outlined the government’s phased re-opening of Australia’s borders in 3 stages:
Stage 1 – Returning Australians, permanent residents and their families, including parents
Stage 2 - Skilled Migrants and students
Stage 3 – Everyone else including tourists and working holiday visa holders.
Finance Minister, Simon Birmingham, this week spoke of skilled migrants and students being welcomed back once returning citizens and their families arrive.
“I think we’re seeing the opening up of borders happening now in a very quick pace. Faster than people expected,” he said.
However, there has not been any further clarity around when we will move to the next stage of the reopening. Additionally, there has been no indication when the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List may revert to the pre-Covid Skilled Occupation List and travel exemptions no longer be a requirement.
With the re-opening plan in place, we have seen a significant uptick in businesses planning for international arrivals in the New Year. There will undoubtedly be a significant back log of visa applications to be reviewed, so we recommend initiating visa applications now.
Written by: Anna Kavelj - Managing Director 22/11/2021
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