Australia reopened its borders for the return of vaccinated skilled migrants and international students after nearly two years on December 15, 2021.
Fully vaccinated skilled migrants and international students will now be able to enter Australian states that have opened their doors for international travellers.
In addition to skilled migrants and international students, provisional family, working holidaymaker, and humanitarian visa holders can now enter Australia without applying for a travel exemption.
All new entrants to Australia will have to self-isolate for 72 hours after their arrival.
Official data showed that more than 235,000 foreigners, including around 160,000 international students, held Australian visas at the end of October.
The much-awaited return of skilled migrants and international students will be a huge boost for Australia, given that it has been suffering from massive skills shortages due to the pandemic and lockdowns.
Returning skilled migrants will now be able to fill job vacancies throughout Australia and strengthen the workforce to contribute towards Australia’s economic recovery.
International students, who are worth about $25 billion to Australia’s economy, will also play their part in Australia’s post-pandemic economic recovery, as they will be able to help local businesses fill casual jobs after a prolonged period of skills shortages.
Speaking on the border reopening, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that letting the virus drag Australia back was not an option.
He also said that Australia has one of the highest vaccination rates, which would allow the country to fight Covid-19 as it moves towards economic recovery.
Innes Willox, chair of Australia’s ministerial advisory council on skilled migration and chief of the Australian Industry Group, said it was important for governments to keep borders open.
He also said that Australia needs to make it easy for people looking to enter the country so that they may contribute towards economic recovery.
Reports show that nearly 90 per cent of Australia’s population aged over 16 have been fully vaccinated, and the wait time for booster shots for the Omicron variant has been shortened.
Australia’s border reopening, initially pencilled in for December 1, was delayed by two weeks after health officials decided to pause the plan to get more information on the new Omicron variant.