Destinations

Federal government makes more international border changes

Australia’s reopening to the world continues to take shape, with additional changes to the country’s international border arrangements coming into effect next month.

From 1 December 2021, fully-vaccinated, eligible visa holders will be able to visit Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption.

Eligible visa holders include skilled and student cohorts, as well as humanitarian, working holidaymaker and provisional family visa holders.

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) and hold a valid visa for one of the eligible visa subclasses.

They will also need to provide proof of their vaccination status and 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 1 December, 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, and present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within three days of departure.

The announcement follows earlier changes that have seen Australia welcome home fully-vaccinated Australians, permanent residents and their immediate family members since 1 November, and follows the commencement of the Singapore safe travel zone on Sunday.

The Accommodation Association has applauded the federal government’s latest international border changes, but warned significant action is needed now to address the extensive skills and staffing crisis plaguing the sector.

The association has already launched a number of major initiatives including in partnership with the government to both attract people back into the sector and boost skills, but president Leanne Harwood said the staffing and skills crisis is real and significant.

“The skills and workforce drain has hit every level of Australia’s accommodation sector, from management all the way through to F&B and housekeeping,” she said.

“We are a sector dealing with job vacancies set to top 100,000 and, while [Monday’s] announcement is welcome, the reality is that 21 months of lockdown has taken its toll on our workforce right across the board.”

“We need people and skills back at all levels of our properties, and we need them back quickly so that we can start to function at full capacity again.”


Featured image source: iStock/da-kuk


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