What you need to know about international removals at the tail end of the pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic has sent shockwaves around the world since its first discovery all the way back in early 2020, affecting so many parts of life and society, including international removals and travel around the globe. Now, nearly 2 years later, countries are well underway with vaccination programmes and travel is once again a possibility. For many, the pandemic meant being stuck abroad and away from home: now could finally be time to make the long-awaited return trip. The following article will provide a breakdown of the rules for international removals to Australia, New Zealand, and the UAE, three destinations that we at John Mason are seeing a number of migrants moving to from the UK. 

What are the restrictions in Australia? 

Australia has recently announced that it will be reopening its borders over the coming weeks. This will allow current residents to leave the country. These rules only apply to states who have an 80% vaccination rate within their population. However, this does not affect visitors to the country – only residents who wish to leave.  

It is anticipated that students and skilled worker visa holders will be allowed into the country within the next few month (mid-2022). This will be permitted after the backlog of overseas residents have returned to the country as they are still the current priority for the government.  

To visitors, Australia currently has its borders shut to all but a few exempt groups and has been notoriously tight with its restrictions and lockdowns throughout the course of the pandemic. Even before the restrictions related to the virus were put in place, Australia had recently updated its list of what it considered ‘skilled workers’ which it would let into the country. There are now 674 roles that will grant work visas to get into the country, with a list available online at The Australian Government Department for Home Affairs. 

The current guidelines state that you are only exempt from the restrictions if you are: 

  • an Australian citizen 
  • a permanent resident of Australia 
  • an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident 
  • a New Zealand citizen usually resident in Australia and their immediate family members 
  • a person who has been in New Zealand or Australia for 14 days or more immediately prior to arrival by air in Australia 
  • a diplomat accredited to Australia, including their immediate family members (each member of the family unit must hold a valid subclass 995 visa) 
  • a person transiting Australia for 72 hours or less 
  • airline crew, maritime crew including marine pilots 
  • a person recruited under the Government approved Seasonal Worker Program or Pacific Labour Scheme 
  • a person who holds a Business Innovation and Investment (subclass 188) visa 
  • a person who holds a Temporary Activity (subclass 408) visa in the ‘Post COVID-19 Economic Recovery Event’ stream and who is supported by the Global Business and Talent Attraction Taskforce. 

There are also exemptions of a compassionate nature available, such as to see a dying loved one, or for marriages. Full lists of exemptions can be found online. Moving to Australia for the first time may be more difficult in the current global climate but international removals to Australia if you already hold citizenship or have family there are more likely to be possible. 

It is also important to note that regions of Australia operate on an individual level regarding the Covid-19 restrictions. For example, at the time of writing, New South Wales, Victoria, and Australian Capital Territory are currently not performing Covid-19 tests for immigrants arriving in the country and so are not available to fly into as easily.  

What are the restrictions in New Zealand? 

New Zealand usually coordinates their border control and travel restrictions to some extent with Australia. There are discrepancies between the two’s rules though, and it’s still important to treat them as individual entities. Currently, New Zealand’s borders are open for travel for people with specific circumstances but there are still strict quarantine and isolation requirements in place. A full visa is also still required for most forms of travel to the country. Proof of a negative test is required when departing and arriving still, and a 14-day isolation period is also necessary. The list of people who can travel to New Zealand are listed below: 

  • Partners and dependent children of temporary visa holders who are teachers 
  • Nationally significant travel re-entry permissions 
  • Partners and dependent children of temporary visa holders  
  • Partners and family 
  • Normally resident work visa holders 
  • Critical health workers 
  • Other critical workers 
  • Travel to and from Pacific Islands 
  • Humanitarian reasons 
  • Entry for students 
  • Ship crew 

Additionally, the maximum length of a visa was extended from 12 months to 24 months for essential skilled workers. 

What are the current restriction in the Middle East? 

The borders of the UAE are more open than those of Australia and New Zealand. International removals to Middle Eastern country Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s capital Abu Dhabi are possible, whilst obviously still requiring the necessary paperwork and forms. Within the UAE, you are required to show proof of a negative test upon departure and arrival. If you have received both vaccinations, then you are not required to quarantine upon arrival in the country. However, if you have only received one vaccination you are still required to quarantine for 10 days. Once in the country, many public places such as cinemas and shops require proof of double vaccination for entry, which is available via an app. Finally, they government are issuing visas as normal, and they are still required for entry to the country. 


We hope this helps you in your decision to make your international move to Saudi Arabia, The UAE, Australia, or New Zealand, and we hope we can help you with your international removal. Here at John Mason’s, we aim to make you the centre of our world while we help you move to wherever in the world you want to be. We have over 100 years’ experience in the industry and can be trusted to help move all of your treasured positions.  

To find out more about international removals to New Zealand check out our ultimate guide to moving to New Zealand.

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