What is the impact of COVID-19 on the Australian Migration Program?
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Modern Australia has been built on Immigration. 30% of its population consists of international migrants, and Australia has the biggest migrants from England, India, and China. And Australia largely depends on new settlers for its economic growth and inventions. However, the impact of COVID-19 and its deadliest mutation has applied the brakes on Australian Immigration.
The central government of Australia (Canberra) shut down the country’s border to most of the country in March 2020 to restrain the spread of COVID-19; and lasted for more than 18 months, and still, borders are pushed to open till December 15. Since the nature of the recent Omicron Virus is still unknown.
In 2020, only 3300 migrants moved to Australia, which is a small fraction of the 244000 arrivals compared to the previous year. This decline in the number of immigrants has affected many businesses as they could not hire skilled workers from overseas. Also, universities that have relied on many international students had to go through a crisis.
Updates on November 30, 2021
Australia has deferred the date when qualified visa holders can enter without travel exemption from December 1 to December 15. It applies to all eligible visa holders and travelers using safe travel zone from Japan and South Korea, as mentioned on November 22. It is just a temporary pause to let authorities assess the impact of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
Updates on November 29, 2021
New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria allow fully vaccinated arrivals in any overseas country to complete a COVID-19 PCR test and are ready for self-isolation at their comfort at least for 72 hours upon arrival in these states. The state had mentioned the quarantine requirements for these territories.
This change is due to the new COVID-19 strain declared by African scientists, and restrictions were introduced to travelers traveling from South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Seychelles, Mozambique, or Malawi in the last 14 days.
Australian citizens, permanent residents, or their immediate family members who have been to these African countries during the past 14 days must be at hotel quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Australia regardless of vaccination status. Overseas travelers who have been to the countries mentioned above are not allowed to enter Australia. It applies even to travelers who hold a travel exemption, have an eligible visa, or looking to enter Australia under a safe travel zone arrangement like Singapore, Japan, and South Korea.
Those applicants who have already arrived in Australia and have been to any of the countries mentioned above within the past 14 days need to contact their local state health authority as soon as possible for further instructions.
Updates on November 22, 2021
From December 1, fully vaccinated eligible visa holders can travel to Australia without a travel exemption. Here is the list of eligible visa holders that can travel to Australia:
- Temporary Skills Shortage Visa Subclass- 482
- Temporary Work(Skilled) Visa Subclass- 457
- Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) Visa Subclass- 400
- Temporary Graduate Visa Subclass- 485
- Training Visa Subclass- 407
- Temporary Activity Visa Subclass -408
- Working Holiday Visa Subclass- 417
- Work and Holiday Visa Subclass- 462
- Recognized Graduate Visa Subclass- 476
- New Zealand Family Relationship Visa Subclass- 461
- Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional Visa Subclass- 494
- Skilled Work Regional Visa Subclass- 491
- Student Visa Subclass- 500
- Sponsored Parent Visa Subclass- 870
- Prospective Marriage Visa
Japan and South Korea Safe Travel Zone
From December 1, citizens from Japan and South Korea who are fully vaccinated will travel directly from Japan or South Korea to Australia without needing a travel exemption. Similarly, other travel safe zone that Australia has declared are Singapore, Japan, and South Korea need to have the following documents:
- Need to have Japanese or Korean Passport
- Hold valid Australian Visa
- Be fully vaccinated with the Australian government recognized vaccine
- Have to leave directly from their country of passport
- Need to showcase proof of their vaccination status
- Show a negative PCR Test within three days of departure
Note that citizens from Japan and South Korea traveling from countries other than Japan and Korea respectively are not allowed and need to continue to apply for a travel exemption until they are eligible visa holders.
Who is called fully vaccinated?
Travelers need to showcase they are fully vaccinated with an Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration(TGA) approved or recognized vaccine. It includes the following vaccination:
Two doses of below mentioned vaccine at least 14 days apart:
- AstraZeneca Vaxzevria
- AstraZeneca COVISHIELD
- Pfizer/Biotech Comirnaty
- Moderna Spikevax
- Sinovac Coronavac
- Bharat Covaxin
- Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV (for ages 18-60 only)
Or one dose of:
- Johnson & Johnson/Janssen-Cilag COVID Vaccine.
However, children under 12 years are counted as fully vaccinated for travel purposes considering the adult family members they are traveling with are fully vaccinated.
Suppose you are compassionate about your dream destination and working on it. Then you are on the right track. You can still migrate to Australia as skilled applicants even the border is shut. As we know, Australia’s borders have been shut for more than 18 months, and they lack skilled workers to work for them. Hence, it is the best time to apply for a Skilled Visa. There is a high chance of getting a visa faster and exemption too. For skilled Immigration, you need to write RPL Report or CDR Report to assess authorities like ACS and Engineers Australia for skill assessment. It evaluates applicants’ skills, knowledge, and qualification and selects the eligible candidates.
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