Faced with this global virus, governments took 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.
“IN BRIEF” Australia facing Covid-19
In March 2020 the country applied strict measures to fight the pandemic both nationally and internationally. Measures that would have saved more than 30,000 lives according to local authorities. The country has now reopened after almost 2 years of closed borders. After initially opening the borders to some visas on December 15, 2021, the country is now opened to all visas, including tourists ones.
Working Holiday Visa makers, students, qualified visas, partners, tourists etc can therefore enter the country. All states now welcome international travellers without mandatory quarantine.
To date, there have been 6 693 deaths linked to Covid-19 across the country since the start of the pandemic. More than 5.2 million cases have been identified in the country.
If you are in Europe and are planning a departure to Australia
Authorised visas since 15 December 2021
Since 15 December 2021, 28 visas have been authorised to enter the country. Here is the list :
|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 authorized since February 21, 2022
Tourist visas (Subclass 651, 601, 600), are able to enter Australia since February 21, 2021 without the need to gain an exemption. You will not have to quarantine upon arrival. You will need to provide a negative rapid antigen test (RAT) within 24 hours of arrival (different rule in different states, remember to check).
Conditions to enter Australia
To enter Australia, you must:
- be fully vaccinated
- have a valid passport
- have a valid visa
- be able to prove your vaccination status
- complete a Digital Passenger Declaration
If you are in Australia
If you wish to return home
Europeans can return to their homes. Commercial flights operate between Europe and Australia (not at full capacity still).
If you’re travelling to England and you qualify as fully vaccinated, you don’t need to take a COVID-19 test before or after you arrive, nor quarantine on arrival. You still need to complete a passenger locator form. There are different rules for people who do not qualify as fully vaccinated for travel to England (see “Travel”). You need to review the rules before travel.
If you are travelling to Ireland, pre-departure testing is no longer needed when travelling to Ireland, unless you’re not fully vaccinated or you have recovered from COVID-19. For fully vaccinated travellers, or if you’ve recovered, you must have a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before you arrive in Ireland.
When travelling to the US, you must provide a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than one day before travel. You must be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination (unless you’re a US citizen, US permanent resident, or qualify for one of the exceptions to this requirement).
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
All states are opened at the moment.
You can enter NSW, VICTORIA, QLD, ACT, NT, SA, TAS if you are coming from all other states.
You can enter WA but you must be fully vaccinated and complete a G2G Pass.
For Working Holiday Visa Makers and Students
Since December 2021, WHV (subclasses 417 & 462) and student (subclass 500) visas can enter Australia without quarantine. However, you must be doubly vaccinated.
People entering Australia on a WHV or student visa between January 19 and March 19 (student) and April 19 (WHV) 2022 will be able to obtain a refund of their visa. Application must be made to Australian Immigration by 31 December 2022.
WHV makers who were not able to enter Australia because of the closed borders are able to lodge a new application free of charge. They will be able to have a new visa for free if they still under the age limit or will get a refund if they are over it. Please also note that the age limit will be increased to 35 years old for UK passport holders within the next few months.
Travellers on working holiday visas who had to leave Australia early due to the pandemic will be eligible for a waiver, or a refund depending on their situation.
Refunds and waivers are available for current or expired WHV holders who are not able to travel to Australia because of travel restrictions.
For those who have passed the relevant age limit, you cannot be able to apply for a new visa. However, you can now apply for a refund.
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.
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.
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.
For all WHVs in Australia, if you work in critical sectors (agriculture, food distribution, health or care, tourism and hospitality since May 15, 2021), you will be exempt from the work limitation of six months with the same employer.
PLEASE NOTE: People on Working Holiday Visas can count jobs done in the health and medical sectors undertaken anywhere in Australia after January 31, 2020 as eligible jobs to apply for a second or third WHV.
All the information on the Covid Visa (subclass 408) : COVID-19 Visa (Subclass 408) And measures for WHV Makers in Australia