The government announced on Monday that Australia, 20 months after its borders closed, will allow skilled workers and foreign students to enter the country next month.
The move comes as the Australian government, facing severe labor shortages, has shifted its focus to economic recovery, with 72 percent of the country’s population fully vaccinated.
The new rules will take effect on December 1, when certain categories of visa holders, including skilled workers, international students, and those on work leave and potential marriage visas, will be allowed to enter Australia for the first time since the start of their visa. pandemic. More than 200,000 people will fall into these categories.
“The return of skilled workers and students to Australia is an important milestone on our journey back,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Monday at a news conference. “The steps we are taking today are aimed at ensuring our economic recovery.”
At the start of the pandemic, Australia closed its borders to non-citizens, leaving hundreds of thousands of visa holders stranded outside the country and exacerbating significant labor shortages. Australia relies on temporary workers in many industries such as hospitality and agriculture. Travel restrictions have also created a serious funding gap for universities.
Most tourists are still barred from entering Australia, with the exception of Singapore, South Korea and Japan, all of the countries that have created travel bubbles with Australia.
Visitors entering Australia will be required to complete a full vaccination and a negative PRC test result within three days of boarding a flight. Upon arrival, they will need to comply with some quarantine restrictions depending on the state in which they are arriving.
On Sunday, the first planes from Singapore arrived in Sydney and Melbourne under a new travel agreement, bringing the country’s first tourists since the start of the pandemic.