Important Update on Travel Bans and visa information during Coronavirus period

Posted on March 18, 2020 by Benson Shi

Numerous countries have implemented travel restrictions and measures in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.

LEVEL 4 TRAVEL BAN

  • For the first time in Australian history, a Level Four travel has been instituted on the entire world by the Australian Government.
  • Level Four is the highest rating for travelling danger issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
  • In his announcement, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said “This is the first time that has ever happened in Australia’s history. The travel advice to every Australian is ‘do not travel abroad’. This is an indefinite ban but, as you are seeing from other countries around the world, they are putting similar restrictions on entry, just as Australia has on others coming into Australia and you would expect that to be in place now and that is the stage we have reached.”

 ALL TRAVELLERS TO AUSTRALIA TO SELF-ISOLATE FOR 14 DAYS

  • From 15 March 2020, the Australian Government announced:
    • All travellers to Australia will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • This applies to all travellers, including Australian citizens.
  • Heavy penalties are in place for those who do not comply. The penalties differ according to the state or territory.

 TRAVEL BANS

  • Foreign nationals (excluding permanent residents of Australia) who have been in the following countries will not be allowed to enter Australia for 14 days from the time they have left or transited through:
    • Mainland China
    • Iran
    • Republic of Korea
    • Italy.
  • Australia will deny entry to anyone who has left or transited a country subject to travel restrictions within the previous 14 days, with the exception of:
    • Australian citizens
    • Permanent residents
    • New Zealand citizens resident in Australia
    • Immediate family members of Australian citizens or permanent residents including spouses, minor dependents and legal guardians.
  • Temporary visa holders who are ineligible for entry into Australia will have their visa considered for cancellation if they attempt to travel to Australia.
  • International cruise ships are now also banned from arriving at Australian ports for the next 30 days.

PARTNER AND IMMEDIATE FAMILIES OF AUSTRALIAN CITIZENS AND PERMANENT RESIDENTS HOLDING TEMPORARY VISAS

  • Partners and immediate families of Australian citizens and permanent residents (spouses, minor dependents or legal guardians only) holding temporary visas are being dealt with on a case by case basis by the Department.
  • The Department is dealing with these cases on a case by case basis
  • Before travelling- you should contact the relevant post using the Australian Immigration Enquiry Form provided on the Department’s website.

VISA HOLDERS ONSHORE

  • If you want to extend your stay you should apply for an appropriate visa- in many cases this may be a visitor visa.
  • If your visa has No Further stay conditions 8503,853 and 8535-extra resources have been provided to this department to process waiver requests to allow onshore visa holders to extend their stay
  • The waiver can be made by submitting a Form 1447 to this email: NoFurtherStayWaiverRequest@homeaffairs.gov.au

 VISA HOLDERS OFFSHORE

  • Those who were required to enter Australia by a specified date – who were prevented from doing so because of the travel bans should contact the section of the Department that issues the visa and request an extension to the entry date
  • Those who hold a Bridging Visa B- offshore and unable to return before the expiry date may consider applying for a visitor visa. A Bridging visa A should then be applied for when onshore.
  • SHEV, TPV and PPV holders- who have travel conditions attached and are affected by the travel bans should contact the Department immediately by emailing: travel.request@homeaffairs.gov.au. (individual circumstances will be considered and where possible, extensions to return dates or delay in travel dates will be granted)
  • Applicants required to be onshore for lodgements of visas- must assess whether the 14-day self-isolation or 14 days in a country not impacted by Australia’s travel restrictions is viable for their specific situation

EXTEND WORKING HOURS FOR STUDENT VISA HOLDERS – SHELF STACKING

  • International students currently employed at the major supermarkets will temporarily be able to work more hours to help keep shelves stocked.
  • Ordinarily international students are subject to a maximum 40 hours a fortnight during term.
  • These measures will be administered by the Department of Home Affairs and are available to major supermarkets including Woolworths and Coles, and only for existing employees in their existing roles.

The enhanced border control measures are in place to ensure the health and safety of the Australian community. The above measures are temporary and will be reviewed.

Figures released by the Department of Home Affairs indicate that on 31 December 2019 there were approximately 2.2 million people in Australia on Temporary visas. Of the 2.2 million there were approximately 480,543 international students and 635,109 visitors.

Please be advised that if you are on any temporary visas and/or your current visa is expiring or you are on a bridging visa, it is important to get immediate advice and take action to avoid being on a difficult circumstances.

If you need assistance, contact us for expert advice.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not legal advice and is not intended to serve as legal advice. Immigration Solutions Lawyers do not accept any liability for any damages suffered by persons who rely on the general information provided on this website. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.