Australia welcomes vaccinated students, skilled workers from Dec 1, COVAXIN Accepted.
Australia news: 24 Nov 2021
Eligible visa holders include skilled and student cohorts, as well as humanitarian, working holiday maker and provisional family visa holders, Australian PM Scott Morrison said in a statement. (Bloomberg)
Australia said on Monday it will allow fully vaccinated skilled migrants and international students holding valid visas to enter the country from December 1 without having to apply for a travel exemption, a move expected to benefit tens of thousands of Indians.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the move was in line with a national plan to safely reopen Australia, while “reuniting families and securing our economic recovery by opening our border to skilled and student visa holders”.
The Indian side has been pressing Australia to open up travel for Indian nationals, especially students wishing to join courses at universities and educational institutions. India is the second largest source of foreign students in Australia, behind China. During 2019-20, Indian students contributed $6.6 billion to the Australian economy.
“From 1 December 2021, fully vaccinated eligible visa holders can come to Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption. Eligible visa holders include skilled and student cohorts, as well as humanitarian, working holiday maker and provisional family visa holders,” Morrison said in a statement.
“The return of skilled workers and international students to Australia will further cement our economic recovery, providing the valuable workers our economy needs and supporting our important education sector,” he added.
Under these arrangements, travellers must be fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Both Covishield and Covaxin, the two main vaccines used in India’s immunisation programme, are recognised by TGA.
Travellers must also have a valid visa for one of the five eligible sub-classes, provide proof of their vaccination status, and present a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within three days of departure.
Australia is among the 99 countries with which the Indian government has an agreement for mutual recognition of vaccination certificates for nationally or World Health Organization (WHO)-recognised vaccines which also included Made-In-India COVAXIN.
Foreign nationals travelling to Australia must comply with quarantine requirements in Australian states or territories they are travelling to.
Morrison also announced that from December 1, citizens of Japan and South Korea who hold a valid visa will be able to travel to Australia without needing to quarantine on arrival.
Australian officials had earlier said foreign students, including Indians, would be able to start returning towards the end of this year and the beginning of 2022, ahead of the start of the first semester in February-March.