When can I travel to Australia from the UK? How borders are opened and new visa restrictions are explained | Instant News

Australia’s federal government has announced plans to substantially relax its international borders from 1 December.

Starting next week, skilled workers, eligible visa holders and fully vaccinated international students will not be subject to strict quarantine measures upon their arrival.

South Koreans and Japanese citizens who have been fully vaccinated and hold valid visas will also be able to enter without undergoing quarantine.

This country is famous for having strict Covid-19 restrictions during the pandemic and even barring its own citizens from leaving the country, a move dubbed “Fort Australia”.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison called Monday’s announcement an “important step forward”.

Here’s what you need to know about the changes, and what they mean for your future travel prospects.

What has changed for international travel in Australia?

Until recently, those traveling to Australia were required to apply for a travel exemption, even if they are fully vaccinated.

However, the new measures will allow eligible visa holders to be fully vaccinated to enter the country without having to apply for an exemption.

This means vaccinated travelers and temporary and temporary visa holders will be allowed to enter the country without the burden of bothersome Covid-19 quarantine restrictions, although some minor restrictions will have to be put in place.

The Home Secretary, Karen Andrews, said travelers needed to be fully vaccinated with a Therapeutic Goods Administration-approved vaccine.

Eligibility to travel abroad will require proof of vaccination status and a negative PCR test within three days prior to departure.

Who can travel to Australia now?

International students, skilled workers and eligible visa holders are allowed to enter the country from December 1.

The Australian Government says the return of skilled workers and international students to Australia will further strengthen the country’s economic recovery and support the education sector.

South Koreans and Japanese citizens who have been fully vaccinated and hold valid visas will also be able to enter without undergoing quarantine.

Amid a growing number of migrants seeking refuge around the world, refugees and humanitarians will also be granted access under the relaxed restrictions.

All eligible groups must show proof of vaccination against a negative Covid-19 PCR test before entering the country.

The government estimates that a total of 200,000 students and eligible visa holders will enter the country between December and January.

Morrison said it would be the government’s “highest priority” to secure flights for Afghan visa holders in the first phase.

The federal government allocated an initial 3,000 humanitarian visas when Afghanistan fell to the Taliban in August.

How will travel bubbles work?

To date, only fully vaccinated travelers from the “Covid safe zone” (Singapore and New Zealand) can travel freely to Australia.

However, starting December 1, vaccinated Japanese and Korean nationals holding valid visas will also be granted access to the country.

This means they will no longer be subject to quarantine measures upon landing in the country or have to seek travel exemptions.

Andrews said: “They have to depart from their home country, they also need to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of their vaccination status.

“They must have a qualifying visa and have a negative PCR test within three days of their departure.”

When can other tourists travel to Australia?

The federal government announced it would take a careful “step-by-step” approach when considering which countries could enter and would prioritize the markets most valuable to the economy.

Morrison said: “Japan and Korea and Singapore are all very important tourist markets for Australia.

“I made that decision in the national interest above all else.”

The government has yet to decide when general tourists can enter the country.

“When things change, it’s time to ask [governments] to withdraw, which is the national plan that is designed to be carried out.”

Borders have not been relaxed for European countries currently facing a series of infections surging across the continent, but Morrison voiced that the government would consider extending travel over the coming months.

Morrison also hailed Australia’s vaccination program as an “important first step”.

Marking one of the most successful vaccination programs in the world, more than 80 per cent of Australians aged 16 and over have been fully vaccinated.

A published government statement read: “Today’s announcement follows previous changes that have seen us welcome fully vaccinated Australians, permanent residents and their immediate family members since November 1, and follow the start of Singapore’s safe travel zone yesterday.

“This change demonstrates the success of our national plan, as the government continues to get Australia back to normal and reopen the world safely.”

Additional reporting from the agency

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