Covid-19: Australian Travel and Migration related FAQs
As the Coronavirus situation continues to rise, number of policies is being announced by the Government of Australia regarding visa holders and people travelling across Australia’s border.
We have created some frequently asked questions related to the Migration updates.
Question 1: Who are exempted from the arrival ban, and who can enter Australia?
People who are Australian citizens and permanent citizens can enter across Australia’s border without requiring any permission from the Department of Affairs.
Family members such as spouse, legal guardians and dependents can also enter Australia. However, some conditions apply before they do so:
A) In case, they don’t have a visa, the must apply for that and attach the document as the evidence of their relationship to an Australian citizen.
B) If the passenger already has a travel visa for Australia, they need to fill in the enquiry form available on the department’s website.
C) New Zealand residents who are usually living in Australia can also enter but need to show some residency proof.
D) Specific airline passengers moving through Australian airport to an advised country (except the passenger who has been in Iran, China, Italy or South Korea in last 14 days)
Question 2: Who are spared from the departure ban and still go out from Australia?
Following people can leave Australia without applying for any exemption request:
-> Persons, who reside in some other country other than Australia, Airline and Maritime crew and related safety workers, people engaged in day to day freight (inbound and outbound).
-> People, who are associated with essential activities at an offshore location and New Zealand citizens who are having a subclass 444 visas.
-> Persons who are traveling on Government business purposes such as an Australian defence force member.
Following people need to apply via the online Covid-19 form to get an exemption to leave Australia:
-> Those persons who travel in response to Covid-19 pandemic; and those people whose movement are essential for conducting critical industries and businesses such as import and export industries.
-> Persons, who are travelling to avail urgent medical treatment that is not available in the country.
-> Those persons whose travel is in the national regard
Question 3: how long these travel restrictions are going to last?
There is currently no specified timeframe for the travel restrictions. The Prime minister has given the reference of 6 months multiple numbers of times in the press release of March 19th, 2020, declaring the travel ban when asked about the predicted timeframe for the situation to become normal. These travel restrictions will be evaluated time to time but no confirmed date has been given.
Question 4: Is Visa Applications still being processed?
The department has stated that visa processing (such as General skilled workers Migration) will continue to operate within the restrictions of the current situation and it is giving priority to process visa applications for those who are exempt from foreign travel to facilitate travel on urgent basis. Online applications for the (ETA) electronic travel authority are not available while the travel limitations are being executed.
Question 5: Is there any flexibility to support temporary visa holders keep their legal status in Australia?
a) The department has stipulated their readiness to allow certain level of flexibilities for visa holders (temporary) who want to stay in Australia legally.
b) Certain services which are required medical examinations, biometric collection and medical examinations may get impacted by Covid-19; therefore, the applicants will be given the specific timeframe to submit these when required.
c) The department has also introduced a new category of visa, the Covid-19 outbreak temporary activity (subclass 408) and this will enable certain visa holders to extend their stay in Australia if they can’t return back to Australia and are eligible temporary visa holders currently working and have skills required for critical sectors such as health, childcare, disability and food processing.
-> To be eligible for this new category of 408 AGEE visas, the applicant needs to be in:
b) Unable to leave Australia due to Coronavirus
c) Unable to apply for and be provided the same visa they are currently holding other than 408 visa
Temporary work skilled (subclass 457) visa holders and temporary skilled shortage visa (subclass 482) who have had their working hours reduced and are on temporary hold, but their employment is still not terminated, can sustain their visa validity without breaking their visa conditions.