Australia says it will begin significantly relaxing bans on foreigners entering the country, prioritising certain groups.
Skilled migrants and international students, as well as Japan and South Korean citizens, will be among those allowed entry from 1 December.
Australia has implemented some of the world's tightest border controls since March last year, including on its own citizens.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison called Monday's announcement an "important step forward".
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Under the relaxed rules, eligible visa holders will be allowed to return to Australia without needing a special exemption.
That will be an estimated 200,000 travellers between December and January, the government said.
"Eligible visa holders include skilled workers and student cohorts, as well as refugees, humanitarians, temporary and provisional visa holders," Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews said.
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They must return a negative Covid test in the three days before arriving, she added.
Fully vaccinated South Koreans and Japanese who hold a valid visa will also be able to enter without undergoing quarantine.
The country has begun a phased re-opening since reaching vaccination targets. More than 85% of Australian over-16s are now fully vaccinated.Esther Solaja
posted 2021-11-22 08:15:34