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Australia to welcome international students, skilled migrants, and refugees by Christmas

Around 200,000 eligible international students, skilled migrants, and refugees would be returning to Australia within weeks without a need for an exemption as the country moves to its final stage of the national reopening plan, Australian media reported.

Fully vaccinated travellers can enter Australia without quarantining for the first time since March 2020.

“It’s the natural next step following the announcements we’ve already made around citizens and permanent residents coming back without the need for quarantine, we’ve got the bubble with Singapore, the natural next step is skilled workers and international students.” Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in a media report.

The government also announced today that fully vaccinated South Koreans and Japanese visa holders will be able to enter Australia without quarantine from December 15, 2021.

“From next month, we will welcome back students and start looking to (bring back) the skilled workers that are needed to ensure we are able to take full advantage of the economic recovery that we are working to secure,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

The first batch of international students from Singapore has arrived in Sydney and Melbourne on Sunday (Nov 21). More students from several countries including Canada, China, Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam, India and other parts of South Asia will be arriving on December 6 and 24.

“Universities have worked closely with government and health authorities for more than 18 months on plans to safely welcome back our international friends,” said Catriona Jackson, chief executive of Universities Australia.

South Australia, Victoria, and Queensland are also preparing for international students’ return. Meanwhile, Western Australia’s reopening dates remain uncertain with Premier Mark McGowan setting their vaccination target to 90% of the population aged 12 and older.

“In order to access the new provisions, travellers will need to be fully vaccinated, and they will need to present a negative PCR test taken within three days prior to their departure.” Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will formally announce more details later today.

From 15 December 2021, fully vaccinated people who hold the following visas are deemed eligible to enter Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption:

Visa
Subclass 200 – Refugee visa
Subclass 201 – In-country Special Humanitarian visa
Subclass 202 – Global Special Humanitarian visa
Subclass 203 – Emergency Rescue visa
Subclass 204 – Woman at Risk visa
Subclass 300 – Prospective Marriage visa
Subclass 400 – Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa
Subclass 403 – Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (other streams, including Australian Agriculture Visa stream)
Subclass 407 – Training visa
Subclass 408 – Temporary Activity visa
Subclass 417 – Working Holiday visa
Subclass 449 – Humanitarian Stay (Temporary) visa
Subclass 457 – Temporary Work (Skilled) visa
Subclass 461 – New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship visa
Subclass 462 – Work and Holiday visa
Subclass 476 – Skilled – Recognised Graduate visa
Subclass 482 – Temporary Skill Shortage visa
Subclass 485 – Temporary Graduate visa
Subclass 489 – Skilled – Regional (Provisional) visa
Subclass 491 – Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa
Subclass 494 – Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa
Subclass 500 – Student visa
Subclass 580 – Student Guardian visa (closed to new applicants)
Subclass 590 – Student Guardian visa
Subclass 785 – Temporary Protection visa
Subclass 790 – Safe Haven Enterprise visa
Subclass 870 – Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa
Subclass 988 – Maritime Crew visa

Additional visa subclasses may be added soon in addition to the exemptions outlined on: Travel restrictions and exemptions.

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