Major change to Australia's international border for December 1

·2-min read

Fully-vaccinated visa holders will no longer need a travel exemption to enter Australia from next month, following a major overhaul of the country's tough border rules.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the new relaxed travel arrangements on Monday, almost two years after the country was closed off to the rest of the world amid the global pandemic. 

The scheme, which will come into effect from December 1, applies to Australian visa holders including international students and skilled workers.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media during a press conference at the Lodge in Canberra, Friday, October 1, 2021. Source: AAP
The government will allow visa holders, skilled migrants and international students to enter Australia from December 1.Source: AAP

All fully vaccinated citizens from Japan and South Korea will also be allowed to travel to Australia from that date after similar arrangements with Singapore kicked off in November.

"The return of skilled workers and students to Australia is a major milestone in our pathway back, it's a major milestone about what Australians have been able to achieve and enable us to do," Mr Morrison told reporters.

"It'll mean a lot for the economies of our country who need those workers and want to see those students return."

The scheme includes humanitarian, student, economic, temporary, working holiday and provisional family visas.

It's estimated the move will allow some 233,000 people to come to Australia. 

Mr Morrison flagged Australia's high vaccination rates as a key reason behind the change, with more than 85 per cent of the eligible population over 16 now double-jabbed. 

"These are extraordinary achievements by Australians," he said.

"Australians can look forward to the Christmas and holiday season in a way that few around the world can."

Christmas joy for returning temporary visa holders

The decision is long-awaited by temporary visa holders, with many reacting angrily to the earlier decision to only allow permanent residents and citizens to enter Australia from the start of November.

There has also been anger from temporary visa holders trapped in Australia wanting to return home on holiday.

Several petitions, with more than 70,000 signatures combined, have been set up online to plead with the government to allow temporary visa holders to fly in and out of Australia before the end of the year.

“Although we do not have voting rights, we are taxpayers and major contributors to the economy,” on petition said.

“We too want to be ‘around the table at Christmas’ with our family, but we do not want to be summarily locked out of Australia upon return.”

Yahoo News Australia has contacted the Department of Home Affairs for clarification over whether temporary visa holders will also be allowed to leave and return to the country without an exemption.

With AAP

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