Omicron International Travel Australia | How Omicron Has Already Impacted Australia’s Plans to Re-open International Travel
Like much of the world, Australia is seeking further advice on the new COVID-19 Omicron variant’s level of transmission, whether it causes severe illness and if existing vaccines will still be effective.
While these factors are still being confirmed, Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday announced that plans to allow Skilled Visa and Student Visa holders to come to Australia without a Travel Exemption from 1 December will now be delayed until 15 December 2021 at this stage.
Until this time, Travel Exemptions for Critical Work and Compassionate/Compelling reasons are still needed for Temporary Visa holders.
Mr Morrison also announced that travel bubble arrangements to open the border to fully vaccinated eligible visa holders and citizens from Japan and Korea will also be delayed until 15 December 2021 instead of 1 December 2021.
Several other inbound travel restrictions have been implemented as a precautionary measure and are effective immediately:
- Fully vaccinated and unvaccinated Australian Citizens, Permanent Residents or their immediate family members entering Australia who have been in South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique or Malawi in the last 14 days can enter but must undergo supervised quarantine for 14 days as per the requirements of their State/Territory of arrival.
- International travel ban for all other travellers flying from any of these countries in the last 14 days. Travel will not be permitted even if they hold a Travel Exemption, eligible visa or are seeking to enter under a travel bubble.
Restrictions could change at short notice as more information about Omicron emerges.
A ‘Temporary Pause’ to Re-opening International Travel | Omicron International Travel Australia
The new Omicron variant has delayed Stage 2 of the Health Minister, Greg Hunt’s proposed staged approach to re-open international travel that was announced in September.
As businesses are clearly struggling with skill shortages, we certainly hope delays to the ‘re-opening’ date of 15 December 2021 for skilled migrants and student visa holders will not be extended further, however this remains yet to be seen and will likely depend on health advice.
It is encouraging that Mr Morrison yesterday stated the delay would be a ‘temporary pause’ to learn about the new variant rather than a reason to step back to lockdowns and long quarantine periods.
At this stage, Mr Morrison is urging States and Territories to stick to their re-opening plans. WA Premier, Mark McGowan stated yesterday that WA’s plan to reopen in early 2022 currently remains on track, however as we all know, things can change very quickly. We will certainly keep you updated.