• From December 1, students and backpackers can finally enter Australia 
  • Tourists from South Korea and Japan will also be allowed in from the same date 
  • Travellers must show proof of vaccination and a negative test before departure 

PM Scott  Morrison  announced on Monday that students and backpackers can enter Australia without an exemption from December 1 in a significant relaxation of the international border. Tourists from South Korea and Japan will also be allowed in from the same date with proof of vaccination and a negative test, matching the travel bubble currently in place with Singapore.

Mr Morrison said about 200,000 double vaccinated students and eligible visa holders will now be able to travel to Australia subject to quarantine arrangements in the state of arrival.

Foreigners eligible for entry from next week include working holiday makers, student visa holders, skills shortage visa holders and refugee and humanitarian visa holders.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews clarified that eligible visa holders already in the country will be able to travel home and return to Australia. ‘Importantly, those fully vaccinated, eligible visa holders who are in Australia, who have worked with us throughout the pandemic, and who contribute to our communities, will now be able to reunite with their families overseas and return to their jobs and studies here in Australia,’ she said.

It comes as Australia faces a major skills shortage with 280,000 jobs going begging.

‘The return of skilled workers and students to Australia is a major milestone in our pathway back, it’s a major milestone about what Australians have been able to achieve and enable us to do,’ Mr Morrison said.

Mr Morrison has not announced when tourists from all countries will be able to enter. Since international travel resumed from Australia on November 1, only citizens, permanent residents and their families have been able to travel without quarantine.