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Get ready for Australia’s border to reopen for all: Vaccination requirements & what you need to know

By 3 November 2021No Comments

Visa processing
Visa processing for those in Australia and overseas continues, including for the subclass 482 TSS visa. Temporary visa holders continue to need a travel exemption to enter Australia (see below), however the Australian government has indicated that borders will reopen to skilled workers and students by the end of this year.

We are strongly urging clients to consider starting any TSS visa process now to mitigate expected processing backlogs and the usual Christmas slow down. We are still finding simple things like obtaining a medical appointment or police checks are taking much longer than pre-COVID, and waiting times are expected to increase given the rush of applications. Remember that many positions will require Labour Market Testing that will add at least an additional 28 days to the process.

Who is coming and going?
From 1 November 2021, fully vaccinated Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members can depart Australia without requiring an outwards travel exemption. Children under 12 and Australian citizens and permanent residents with acceptable proof they cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons will also be able to travel overseas without seeking a travel exemption.

Any other Australian citizens and permanent residents who do not meet the eligibility requirements (unvaccinated) must continue to follow the current border processes when leaving Australia or coming to Australia. This means applying for a travel exemption to depart and a 14 day mandatory hotel quarantine on return.

It is possible for temporary visa holders to leave Australia without needing a travel exemption. They do not need to be fully vaccinated, and do not need to show a vaccination certificate on departure. However, they continue to require a travel exemption to enter Australia (unless they are in an exempt category) until the Australian borders reopen. It is still recommended that temporary visa holders who wish to depart Australia and return, apply for a travel exemption before they leave Australia.

There are still caps on the number of passengers coming into Australia however this applies to those that do not meet the vaccination requirements.  For example, for New South Wales (NSW) this is 210 arrivals per week.

Who needs to quarantine?
International arrivals into NSW, VIC and the ACT who meet the requirements of vaccination and pre-departure testing are not required to quarantine or self-isolate, and may leave the airport and enter the community after clearing border control. This applies to Australian citizens, permanent residents and temporary visa holders.

Quarantine is still required in other states and territories for all international arrivals.

What are the current vaccination requirements?
A person will meet the vaccination requirements if they have completed a course of a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved or recognised vaccine. Current vaccines and dosages accepted for the purposes of travel are:

  • Two doses at least 14 days apart of:
    • AstraZeneca Vaxzevria
    • AstraZeneca Covishield
    • Pfizer/Biontech Comirnaty
    • Moderna Spikevax
    • Sinovac Coronavac
    • Covaxin (manufactured by Bharat Biotech, India)
    • BBIBP-CorV (manufactured by Sinopharm, China)
  • Or one dose of:
    • Johnson & Johnson/Janssen-Cilag COVID Vaccine.

At least 7 days must have passed since the final dose of vaccine in a course of immunisation for a person to be considered fully vaccinated. Mixed doses count towards being fully vaccinated as long as all vaccines are approved or recognised by the TGA.

Unless vaccinated with the above doses or schedule, a person will not meet Australia’s definition of ‘fully vaccinated.’ This includes instances where the dosing schedule or vaccine eligibility differs in another country of origin. If Australia’s definition of fully vaccinated is not met, current border restrictions apply with the border processes when leaving Australia or coming to Australia. This includes requesting a travel exemption and undertaking mandatory quarantine. The TGA is evaluating other COVID-19 vaccines that may be recognised for the purposes of inbound travel to Australia in future. The most up-to-date information on approved and recognised vaccines is available on the TGA website.

What about children?
In VIC, all international arrivals under the age of 12 will not be required to quarantine if they do not meet the vaccination requirements. This also applies in NSW, provided they are accompanied by a person aged 18 or over who does meet the requirements.

Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated Australian children aged 12-17 years old arriving in NSW or VIC may also be eligible for reduced quarantine requirements.

ACT has modified quarantine conditions for international arrivals under the age of 18, and such travellers will be required to obtain an exemption from ACT Health to travel into the ACT.

International vaccination certificates
International arrivals into Australia can rely on vaccination certificates obtained from the country where vaccinated.

Anyone with a valid passport and COVID-19 vaccinations registered on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) can apply for an International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC). The ICVC will be provided in PDF format and can be printed or or shown electronically.

Travellers vaccinated overseas that cannot obtain an ICVC will need to present a foreign vaccination certificate.

For those with multiple passports, each international certificate includes a passport number in the person’s name. Multiple certificates can be obtained on multiple passports so that a certificate is linked to each passport.

Please contact us if you have any further questions.

DISCLAIMER This information is current as of date of publication and subject to change. The information contained in this publication is of a general nature only. It should not be used as legal advice. To the extent permissible by law, Ajuria Lawyers and its associated entities shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, defects or misrepresentations in the information or for any loss or damage suffered by persons who use or rely on such information. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Have more specific questions about your visa? Get in touch with Ajuria Lawyers today.

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Author Ron Kessels

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