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Eligible visa holders allowed entry from Dec 1

Passengers being greeted from as they arrive into the terminal at Sydney Airport on November 21, 2021 in Sydney, Australia.

James D. Morgan | Getty Images

Australia is set to allow eligible visa holders who are fully vaccinated to enter from Dec. 1 without needing to apply for a travel exemption, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Monday.

Eligible visa holders include skilled workers, students, refugees as well as working holidaymakers.

“Steps we are taking today are about securing our economic recovery, steps we are taking today are about Australians looking forward, steps we are taking today is about taking Australia forward,” Morrison said at a press briefing.

“The return of skilled workers and students to Australia is a major milestone in our pathway back,” he added. “It’s a major milestone about what Australians have been able to achieve and enabled us to do.”

Australia closed its borders in March 2020 to everyone except Australian citizens and permanent residents due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Since then, over 500,000 temporary migrants have left the country, according to a parliamentary report in August. A lack of skilled migrants, along with low unemployment, have led to “major skill shortages in many sectors of the Australian economy,” a member of parliament said.

The country is expecting to take in around 200,000 eligible visa holders when restrictions lift on Dec. 1, but that number may be more, according to Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews. Those travelers would be subject to relevant quarantine arrangements, depending on which state they’re entering through.

States like New South Wales and Victoria as well as the Australian Capital Territory no longer require mandatory quarantine for vaccinated travelers.

Visitors from Japan, South Korea

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