Australian International Travel Omicron | Updates
Prime Minister, Scott Morrison met with State and Territory leaders at a National Cabinet meeting last Friday 10 December 2021 to discuss the new Omicron variant and the approach for Australian international travel.
According to Mr Morrison’s media statement following the National Cabinet meeting, here’s a summary of what was discussed:
- As more evidence on Omicron becomes available, the Federal Government will consider adjusting Australia’s international border restrictions in line with a suppression strategy that limits the rate of Omicron entering Australia, rather than eliminating it at the border.
- Australia’s emergency period under the Biosecurity Act 2015 has been extended to 17 February 2022, giving the Government continued discretion to implement international travel restrictions that limit the spread of COVID-19.
- All States and Territories are on track to reach above an 80% vaccination rate for their populations 16 years and over and enter Phase C of the National Plan to Transition Australia’s COVID-19 Response by the end of 2021.
- Health advice will inform the thresholds required to move to Phase D (which allows for open international borders and uncapped arrivals of non-vaccinated travellers). This will be discussed at the next National Cabinet meeting in February and we can perhaps expect further details on how international travel to Australia will open more broadly at this time.
- The National Cabinet welcomed Queensland‘s announcement to re-open to fully-vaccinated Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents from 13 December 2021.
- International arrivals caps were reaffirmed based on State quarantine capacities (Fully vaccinated Australian citizens, Permanent Residents, and their immediate families are not included in these caps unless they are subject to testing and quarantine):
- Western Australia: This was intended to be 530 people per week as this figure had doubled in November 2021, but according to further news announced by WA Premier, Mark McGowan on 15 December 2021, WA international arrivals will be halved to 265 people per week from 23 December 2021.
- New South Wales: 210 people per week
- Victoria: 250 people per week
- Queensland: 1,000 people per week (plus 300 per week surge capacity)
- South Australia: 320 people per week
Also on Friday 10 December 2021, Mr Morrison told 2GB radio he hopes Australia can reopen to visa holders by Christmas as more information emerges about the new Omicron variant.
Australia’s international border will re-open to fully vaccinated skilled migrants and international students from tomorrow, 15 December 2021 after being delayed from 1 December 2021 to allow time to investigate the new Omicron variant.
This significant change will allow fully-vaccinated eligible visa holders will be eligible to enter Australia without a Travel Exemption including some Skilled and Other Temporary Visa holders, Student and Graduate Visa holders, Family and Humanitarian Visa holders – find out which groups here.
Interstaff | Over 30 Years of Visa and Migration Experience | Australian International Travel Omicron
Should you wish to get advice on your visa and travel options, we encourage you to call Interstaff’s Migration Agents on 08 9221 3388 (Perth) or 02 7200 2567 (Sydney) or 03 8319 0902 (Melbourne) or +61 8 9221 3388 (International) or get in touch here.