Australian Borders Opening for Workers, Students and Graduates from 15 Dec 2021

The Australian government has announced that from 15 December 2021, fully vaccinated eligible visa holders can now travel to Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption. Eligible visa holders are people who hold the following visas: 

Subclass 300 – Prospective Marriage visa
Subclass 400 – Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa
Subclass 403 – Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (other streams, including Australian Agriculture Visa stream)
Subclass 407 – Training visa
Subclass 408 – Temporary Activity visa
Subclass 417 – Working Holiday visa
Subclass 457 – Temporary Work (Skilled) visa
Subclass 461 – New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship visa
Subclass 462 – Work and Holiday visa
Subclass 476 – Skilled – Recognised Graduate visa
Subclass 482 – Temporary Skill Shortage visa
Subclass 485 – Temporary Graduate visa
Subclass 489 – Skilled – Regional (Provisional) visa
Subclass 491 – Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa
Subclass 494 – Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa
Subclass 500 – Student visa
Subclass 580 – Student Guardian visa (closed to new applicants)
Subclass 590 – Student Guardian visa
Subclass 870 – Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa
Subclass 200 – Refugee visa
Subclass 201 – In-country Special Humanitarian visa
Subclass 202 – Global Special Humanitarian visa
Subclass 203 – Emergency Rescue visa
Subclass 204 – Woman at Risk visa
Subclass 449 – Humanitarian Stay (Temporary) visa
Subclass 785 – Temporary Protection visa
Subclass 790 – Safe Haven Enterprise visa
Subclass 988 – Maritime Crew visa

International students and skilled migrants to re-enter some states from 15 December

Health Minister Greg Hunt has confirmed international students and skilled migrants will be able to enter some states from Wednesday, 15 December 2021. The long-awaited return of visa holders was paused for two-weeks earlier this month, amid concerns about the global spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19.

Since that announcement, Australia’s booster rollout has been fast-tracked and medical experts now believe the variant may be milder than the Delta strain. Mr Hunt says it is now safe to slowly open the international border.

“That reopening is scheduled, will be going ahead, and has been reaffirmed over the weekend after consultation with the prime minister, with the national cabinet meeting, and with advice from the chief medical officer,” he said.


Note: Additional visa subclasses may be added over time.


This is in addition to the exemptions outlined on: Travel restrictions and exemptions.

To be considered an eligible visa holder you must hold one of the following visas. If you have applied for the visa but it has not yet been granted, you are not an eligible visa holder.

Note: Temporary visa holders who are not included in the new arrangements for eligible visa holders, may apply for an inwards exemption before they leave.

Under these arrangements, travellers must:

  • Be fully vaccinated with a completed dosage of a vaccine approved or recognised by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)
  • Hold a valid visa for one of the eligible visa subclasses above
  • Provide proof of their vaccination status
  • Present a negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test taken within three days of departure.

Travellers to Australia must comply with the quarantine requirements in the state or territory of their arrival, and any other state or territory to which they plan to travel.



From 15 December 2021, Australia will also welcome back fully vaccinated citizens from Japan and the Republic of Korea. Under these arrangements, citizens of Japan and the Republic of Korea who hold a valid Australian visa will be able to travel from their home country quarantine-free to participating states and territories, without needing to seek a travel exemption.

Under these arrangements, travellers must:

  • Depart from their home country
  • Be fully vaccinated with a completed dosage of a vaccine approved or recognised by the TGA
  • Hold a valid Australian visa
  • Provide proof of their vaccination status
  • Present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within three days of departure.


For further information or assistance on applying for any of the above visas, kindly contact us for a FREE and PRIVATE CONSULTATION at our KL office at 03-2300 2380 / 012-238 1380 or our Melbourne office at +614 5077 2380 / +614 3358 8377 or email to:

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