Home News in Australia Australia to open borders to Working visa holders, students and skilled migrants from 15 December 2021

Australia to open borders to Working visa holders, students and skilled migrants from 15 December 2021

Australia to open borders to Working visa holders, students and skilled migrants from 15 December 2021

In November 2021, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that WHV visas (subclass 417 and 462), international students and skilled workers will be welcomed back into Australia from 15 December 2021. With a vaccination rate exceeding 90% (over 16 years), Australia is finally opening to the world, nearly two years after the international border was slammed shut. The country has also confirmed tourist will be allowed to enter Australia from 21 February 2022. Here is the list of all the visas authorised and the entry requirements.

Working Holiday and student visas permitted entry into Australia

Since March 2020 and until today, very few people were able to enter the country. In addition to obtaining a visa, they had to apply for an exemption from the Australian government. WHVs, students, tourists etc, were unable to enter Australia.

Working Holiday Visa makers (Subclasses 417 & 462)

Since December 15, 2021 all eligible visa holders are able to enter Australia. Those travellers must have received a vaccine approved or recognised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. They also must be able to prove their vaccination status.

This concerns all partner countries with Australia for the Working Holiday Visa (subclasses 417, 462) Program.


Scott Morrison

Student visas holders

Morrison said the return of skilled workers and students to Australia is “an important step” in their national plan to reopen. Students are allowed to enter Australia since 15 December 2021 without quarantine.

Australian universities have been hit hard by the pandemic. According to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, international students contributed $37.6 billion to the Australian economy in 2019. International students will therefore be able to enter the country to start their semester in February in Australia.

The news concerns 28 different visas for citizens of all countries of the world (list below). This includes eligible visa holders in Australia seeking to depart and return (as long as their visa is valid).

The federal government now expects some 200,000 visa holders to enter the country in the coming months, Morrison added.

Visa refunds

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced exciting news for anyone planning to come to Australia in the first months of 2022! Indeed, visa fees will be refunded for international students and Working Holiday visa makers arriving in the coming weeks.

The student visa fee of $630 will be refunded for those arriving in Australia from January 19, 2022 until March 19, 2022.

And for all backpackers holding a Working Holiday Visa, the visa fee will also be refunded ($495). All those who will arrive in the country between January 19 and April 19, 2022 are concerned.

Conditions to enter Australia

To travel into Australia you must :

  • Show evidence that you have been vaccinated with a vaccine approved or recognised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
  • Have a valid visa
  • Provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 3 days of your flight’s scheduled departure to your airline when you check-in for a flight to travel into Australia
  • Provide proof of vaccination
  • Complete an Australian Travel Declaration within 72 hours of your flight

The information in the ATD helps determine your quarantine arrangements (if required) and also allows the relevant health departments to contact you if someone you travelled with tests positive for COVID-19. 

State and territory requirements for incoming travellers

Each Australian state and territory has its own border measures and entry requirements. Therefore arrangements for returning to Australia will depend on the state or territory you are travelling to.

All states & Territories

Travellers are allowed into all states. They have all removed the need for vaccinated travellers to undergo quarantine upon arrival.

Fully vaccinated international passengers arriving in Australia must self-isolate until they receive a negative COVID-19 result from a test carried out within 24 hours of arrival in the state (PCR or rapid antigen test depending on the state).

Western Australia

Western Australia is the only state that still its borders closed. To enter WA you must have an exemption.
All international arrivals need to complete a G2G Pass declaration to enter WA.
Passengers travelling to Australia must provide proof of a negative PCR test result at the time of check-in. The PCR test must have been taken 72 hours or less, prior to departure.

Upon arrival in Western Australia, you must:

  • Complete 14 days of hotel quarantine at a government approved facility at your own expense.
  • You will be subject to mandatory COVID-19 tests on the following days:
    • On the day following your arrival in WA
    • On day 5 of quarantine
    • On day 13 of quarantine
    • On day 17 (after you have left quarantine)
    • On day 21 (after you have left quarantine).

Other approved visas permitted entry

Fully vaccinated travellers holding a valid work, student or working holiday visa are free to enter Australia since 15 December without applying for a travel exemption.

The eligible visas are as follows:

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 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 449 – Humanitarian Stay (Temporary) 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 785 – Temporary Protection visa
Subclass 790 – Safe Haven Enterprise visa
Subclass 870 – Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa
Subclass 988 – Maritime Crew visa

Tourist Visas from 21 February

From February 21, 2021, tourist visas are permitted to enter Australia. No quarantine is imposed. Only people who are doubly vaccinated can enter the country on a tourist visa. A rapid antigen or PCR test must be carried out within 24 hours of their arrival.

States and Territories vaccination rates

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