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COVID 19 Update – A positive outlook in relation to the ongoing pandemic

COVID 19 halted Australian migration, making it impossible for some temporary visa holders to travel to and from Australia.  As the restrictions around the country continue to ease, below is a summary of restrictions that remain in force.

Travel - International

International travel ban remains in force for ALL individuals, this includes temporary and permanent visa holders.  Temporary visa holders who are currently overseas will need to seek exemption in order to return to Australia.  The form can be completed using the online link: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/departmental-forms/online-forms/covid19-enquiry-form

Reasons for travelling back to Australia include:

  • Being an Australian citizen and wanting to travel to Australia
  • Being permanent resident of Australia and wanting to travel to Australia
  • Being a New Zealand citizen usually resident in Australia and wanting to travel to Australia
  • Immediate family member (spouse, de facto partners, dependent child or legal guardian) of an Australian Citizen or Permanent resident.
  • Compelling or compassionate request to travel to Australia now (for example, work/business)
  • Transit
  • In most cases exemptions are reviewed and finalised within 24 to 48 hours however delays can and do happen.

Travel – Domestic

New South Wales government has announced that interstate travel for non essential purpose will commence on 1 June 2020.  Individuals wanting to travel interstater are advised to exercise standard caution including social distancing.

Easing of Visa Conditions

Home Affairs is aware that some individuals are unable to depart Australia and are restricted from lodging another visa application in Australia.  The following updates have been published on 21 May on the Home Affairs website:

https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/staying-australia

Condition 8531

Condition 8531 (must not remain in Australia beyond the period of stay permitted by the visa)

Those who are subject to condition 8531 will need to apply for a waiver to have the Condition lifted.

Home Affairs confirmed that they will take into account circumstances surrounding COVID19 and being unable to depart Australia.

Student Visa Holders need to be mindful of their work limitations where it is appropriate.  Students are to work 40 hours per fortnight unless exempt or the course is out of session or has been deferred.

TSS and 457 Visa Holders will be able to have their hours reduced without breaching condition 8107 or 8607.  Sponsors will need to maintain records in case of an audit.  A notification to Home Affairs is not required.

Whilst there is some relief in relation to travel and visa conditions in certain instances, it is nonetheless important that temporary (and in some cases permanent) visa holders seek advice where appropriate.

Further information will be published as it becomes available.

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