Migration Alert | COVID-19

Migration and Visas

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DATE PUBLISHED: March 24, 2020

The Department of Home Affairs has implemented several measures in response to COVID-19 which have critical implications for some Australian Visa holders. Businesses who have sponsored employees for a temporary work visa (for example, a Temporary Skill Shortage (Subclass 482) Visa) should consider the impact of these measures on the recruitment of the foreign employee and any impacts this would have for business continuity.

If you or your clients have queries in relation to what affect these measures may have, we have compiled a list of “frequently asked questions” which may assist. Please contact us if you or your clients have any queries regarding the impact of COVID-19 on their ability to travel to Australia or a pending visa application.


TRAVELLING TO AUSTRALIA

Q: I AM A PERMANENT RESIDENT OR AUSTRALIAN CITIZEN – AM I EXEMPT FROM THE TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS?  

You can travel to Australia if you are:

  • An Australian citizen
  • A permanent resident of Australia; or
  • A New Zealand citizen usually resident in Australia. You must carry proof of residency (driver’s licence or documents in relation to your residency).  

In each of the above cases, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days at home or in a hotel.  Please contact us prior to travelling to Australia if you need assistance determining whether you fall within one of the above categories.


Q: I AM AN IMMEDIATE FAMILY MEMBER OF AN AUSTRALIAN CITIZEN OF PERMANENT RESIDENT – CAN I TRAVEL TO AUSTRALIA?

You can also travel to Australia if you are an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident. Immediate family means you are a spouse, dependant or legal guardian of an Australian citizen of permanent resident. You must follow the below instructions prior to travelling to Australia:  

  • Partner and Child visa holders (except Prospective Marriage visa holders) can travel to Australia without submitting any further applications to the Department.
  • If you are an immediate family member and you hold a temporary visa (except for parent and child visa holders), you must apply for an exemption to the travel restrictions by submitting this form: Australian Immigration Enquiry Form. Do no travel to Australia until the Department advises you that you can.
  • If you are an immediate family member and you do not have a visa, you can't come to Australia until you have been granted a valid visa. Apply for a visa and include proof (such as your marriage certificate, your birth certificate or birth certificate for your children). Do not travel to Australia until the Department advises you that you can.

In each of the above cases, if the Department lets you travel, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days at home or in a hotel.


TEMPORARY VISA HOLDERS IN AUSTRALIA

You must apply for a new visa before your current visa expires. You may be eligible to be granted a bridging visa that will keep you lawful until a decision is made on your visa application. You should review the conditions of your visa to ensure that you are not prevented from making further onshore visa applications.


TEMPORARY VISA HOLDERS OUTSIDE AUSTRALIA

Q: I AM A TEMPORARY VISA HOLDER AND I CAN’T ENTER AUSTRALIA BEFORE THE REQUIRED ENTRY DATE

A: For temporary visa holders, you will need to apply for a new visa once the travel restrictions are lifted. The Department recommends that permanent visa holders contact the departmental office which granted their visa, but only when they are able to travel.


Q: I AM A TEMPORARY VISA HOLDER AND I CAN’T RETURN TO AUSTRALIA BEFORE MY VISA EXPIRES AND I WANT TO RETURN

A: You will need to apply for a new visa once the travel restrictions are lifted. This includes if your bridging visa expires and you are outside of Australia.


Q: I AM A TEMPORARY VISA HOLDER AND I CAN’T RETURN TO AUSTRALIA IN TIME FOR MY NEW VISA WHICH REQUIRES ME TO BE IN AUSTRALIA AT TIME OF APPLICATION OR GRANT

A: You will need to apply for a new visa once the travel restrictions are lifted.


Q: I AM APPLYING/HAVE APPLIED FOR A TEMPORARY VISA AND CAN’T PROVIDE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION DUE TO OFFICE CLOSURES (ENGLISH TESTS, BIOMETRICS, HEALTH ASSESSMENTS)

A: The Department will give you additional time to complete checks and provide requested information.


We strongly recommend that you do not apply for an offshore temporary visa until the travel restrictions have been lifted. Otherwise, your visa may be subject to cancellation by the Department in response to the temporary travel restrictions.


PROCESSING TIMES

Services related to the visa application process may be impacted by COVID-19, although the Department has not yet indicated whether processing times will be extended.

If you require advice in relation to the measures implemented by the Department and your ability to travel to Australia, please contact Jerome Quinn on (07) 3014 6578 prior to making any travel plans.

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