Faced with this global virus, governments are taking unprecedented measures to limit the coronavirus spread. We tell you more about the current COVID-19 situation in Australia and what it means for travellers and Working Holiday Visa holders.
If you are in Europe and are planning a departure to Australia
Since March 20, 2020, Australia’s borders are closed to foreigners. You will not be able to enter the country. Australia allows entry to Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families. A quarantine of 14 days will always be imposed on them.
An arrival cap, which currently allow 3500 arrivals nationally per week, is in place in Australia (as at July 2021).
All travellers to Australia must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) result at the time of check-in. Travellers must wear a mask while on the flight and while in the airport environment.
Government approved mandatory quarantine hotels are arranged for all incoming travellers to Australia. All incoming travellers are required to undertake a 14 day supervised quarantine period in a designated hotel or accommodation facility at their port of entry. You will be tested for COVID-19 in the first 48 hours and then between days 10 to 12 of quarantine. You’ll have to remain in the allocated accommodation until you’re medically cleared.
You will need to pay for the cost of your Quarantine hotel. The cost of quarantine is usually around $3,000 for one adult. Additional adults will have to pay $1,000. The quarantine accommodation fee is a fixed cost which includes a meal budget and room costs.
At this stage, there is no set date on when the country will actually open its borders. The Federal budget 21 seems to also suggest international borders won’t reopen until mid-next year (2022). On 2nd July 2021, the National Cabinet agreed on a Four Phases Plan for the reopening of borders. All information available on : Australia Travel Ban and Plan to open borders
If you are in Australia
If you wish to return home
Europeans can return to their homes, only citizens and permanent residents need an exemption to leave Australia.
If you’re travelling to England you must quarantine in the place you’re staying or in a managed quarantine hotel for 10 days. You must also get 2 coronavirus tests after you arrive in England. You’ll need to book these before you travel.
Before flying to the UK, you’ll need to:
- complete a passenger locator form
- provide proof of a negative coronavirus test
If you are travelling to Ireland, you must complete an online ‘Passenger Locator Form’ with information about where you are staying in Ireland. All passengers must have a negative PCR COVID test taken no more than 72 hours before your arrival. Travellers must quarantine in their home.
If you are travelling to the US, you must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test within three days of your departure and an attestation. You will have to stay home and self-quarantine for 7 days.
If you are staying in Australia
Covid-19 Work & Travel Health Insurance
For those who have made the choice to stay in Australia, please make sure you be well covered! Some insurance providers cover well if you are ever affected by the virus.
- WorldNomads: There is NO COVER available for travel to any country or part of it with a COVID-19 travel ban, and any events that arise when you travel against any FCO government warning advising against all or all but essential travel. Please visit their Website and check your coverage.
- GoWalkabout: There will no longer be cover for cancellation, abandonment or curtailment claims if the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises you not to travel.
- World First Travel: Cover is provided for claims arising from COVID-19 under certain sections of your policy, for Medical Expenses and Cancellation. Check this PDF for more information.
- TrueTraveller: Policies include medical, cancellation and curtailment cover for Coronavirus, subject to there being no Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) travel warning for Coronavirus for the country or area you are travelling to.
- Medicare: some countries such as the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Belgium, Norway, Slovenia, Malta have signed bilateral agreements with Australia. Nationals of these countries can benefit from Medicare. However, coverage is lower than that provided to Australian citizens, which means Medicare only covers essential care.
Inter-state borders, quarantine and closure
States and territories finally appear to be heading towards a full opening of their borders after months and months of uncertainties. Here’s a quick update on the current situation (as of July 5, 2021):
New South Wales
You can enter NSW if you are coming from ACT, SA, TAS. For other states and territories you have to follow the instructions for relevant states or territories that you have been to in the previous 14 days. Those rules can be found on the NSW state website.
A Border Pass is required to enter VIC from any state or territory. If you are coming from a red or orange zone, you will need to isolate yourself and provide a negative PCR test.
Anyone can enter Queensland unless they have been in a Covid-19 hotspot within the previous 14 days, in which case entry will be refused. The Border Travel Bubble between QLD and NSW is no more in place. Entry is not possible if you have been to Greater Sydney, Woolongong, Shellharbour, Central Coast, Blue Mountains in NSW, Greater Darwin or Perth surroundings and Peel in WA.
The Tas e-travel registration is compulsory for all arrivals from any state or territory. Tasmania’s border entry conditions depend on where each traveller has spent time in the 14 days prior to their day of arrival in Tasmania. Always check the travel alerts on the TAS website.
All interstate arrivals must complete a G2G PASS declaration to enter WA. Travel is permitted into and around WA from interstate and New Zealand, depending on where travellers have come from and who they’ve had contact with in the 14 days prior to travel.
All travellers must complete the Cross Border Travel Registration form on the SA Police website prior to their travel to South Australia.
Any person arriving from the Australian Capital Territory, Western Australia, New South Wales or Queensland is currently prohibited from entering South Australia.
For people in Victoria: people who have been at a COVID-19 Tier 1 or Tier 2 Public Exposure Site as published by the Victorian Government are subject to level 6 restrictions and are not permitted to enter South Australia.
All arrivals to the Northern Territory (NT) must: fill in a Border Entry Form and complete 14 days of mandatory supervised quarantine, if you have recently been in an active declared COVID-19 hot spot.
You cannot enter ACT if you have been in Greater Sydney, Woolongong, Shellharbour, Blue Mountains, or Central Coast in NSW or Greater Darwin, Litchfield, Palmerston in NT.
Safe Travel Zone between Australia and New Zealand
As of 19 April 2021, quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand is permitted.
The “Safe Travel Zone” between New Zealand and Australia is opened and effective since April 19, 2021. You can travel between those two countries without being required to quarantine upon arrival. Those in Australia traveling to New Zealand will not have to quarantine and likewise travellers from NZ won’t be required to quarantine.
If you are currently in NZ, you can apply for a WHV in Australia and those in Australia can apply for a WHV in New Zealand.
This “Bubble” applies to everyone currently in NZ and Australia. Whether you are NZ or Australian citizens, on a WHV, a Student or tourist visa in NZ or Australia, you can enter and travel between those two countries. The airlines operating flights between the two countries are Qantas and Air New Zealand.
For permanent resident and dual citizens
Australian residents, dual citizens and citizens are not allowed to leave Australia except for exceptional reasons. You will need to apply and complete an online form on the Australian government website.
However, it is possible to go to New Zealand since 19 April 2021 without completing an exemption form. Should you wish to travel further from NZ, you will need to complete an exemption form.
For temporary visa holders
You must take the necessary steps to maintain the legality of your stay AND make these steps imperatively before the expiration of your current visa.
You must apply for a new visa before your current visa expires
If you are on a Working Holiday Visa and you can apply for a second or third year, you should lodge your application before your current visa expires. While processing your application, your stay is considered as lawful until a decision is made on your visa application.
If you entered Australia on a Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa, you can count critical COVID-19 work in the healthcare and medical sectors undertaken on a subclass 408 COVID-19 Pandemic event visa towards eligibility for a 2nd or 3rd WHM visa.
You can also apply for a 408 visa (Australian Government endorsed events (COVID-19 Pandemic event). Indeed, workers in critical sectors are able to apply for a covid visa to continue working in these sectors if their current visa is about to expire. Critical sectors include agriculture, food processing, health care, aged care, disability care and child care. If you are working in a critical sector you may get up to 12 months visa.
Update 15 May 2021 : Tourism and hospitality have now been added to critical sector for 408 Visa.
The 408 visa is also available for people not working in critical sector who may get up to 3 months visa.
All the information on the Covid Visa (subclass 408) : COVID-19 Visa (Subclass 408) And measures for WHV Makers in Australia