Australia has confirmed it will lift a ban next week that barred its citizens from traveling abroad without a permit.
Australians have spent 19 months under some of the world’s strongest border laws, in an effort to curb Covid.
From 1 November people will no longer need to be released to leave the country – as long as they are fully vaccinated.
Only Australians are eligible but some immigration laws will be relaxed soon, the government said.
“Before the end of the year, we look forward to welcoming fully qualified staff and international students,” Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said in a statement.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison hailed the reopening of the Australian border, saying it was “time to restore the lives of Australians”.
The changes have been happily met by the people of Australia and others around the world. Many have spent time away from loved ones.
“But I will believe that the borders have reopened when I see and hear the stories of the Aussies trapped and able to return home unhindered,” Amy Hayes, who lives in England, told the BBC earlier this month.
Vaccination surgery has allowed some Australian states to scrap their strategy to eliminate all cases.
Mr Morrison said Australia was “too close” to agreeing to travel with Singapore. On Tuesday, the Asian city said it would allow fully vaccinated Australians, permanent residents and their families to enter without detention alone from November 8.
But provinces such as Queensland and Western Australia have threatened to keep their borders closed until vaccination rates are too high.
Right now, people can go australia – which has recorded more than 160,000 Covid cases and 1,653 deaths – only for various reasons such as important work or visiting a dying relative.
Admission is allowed for residents and others who do not have exemption, but there are strict immigration numbers. This has left tens of thousands of people homeless overseas.
Australians under the age of 12 will be exempted from the need for a new travel vaccine.
All other unprotected travelers still need to be released and must be kept in solitary confinement for 14 days in hotels upon return.