Australian Visas and Coronavirus
March 23, 2020
Our thoughts are with everyone that has been affected by the COVID-19 situation. We are monitoring the situation very closely, and our utmost priority remains with the wellbeing and safety of our clients and community. We are following the Australian Government’s announcements closely and regularly so we are able to provide up-to-date advice to all interested and effected parties.
This is a complex and evolving situation and we will continue to keep you informed of any changes as they unfold. The information is valid as of 27 March 2020.
The following is a top line summary of key issues for consideration.
New rules for international students were brought in last week allowing for extended hours for those working in supermarkets in order to keep up with worker demand in that sector. That has also been extended to students working in the aged care sector.
There has been no official announcement by the DHA to suspend classes. Many schools are already offering virtual classes.
Tourists and Visitors
Anyone arriving in Australia needs to self-isolate for 14 days. Those found in non-compliance risk a $13,000 fine.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a travel ban which took effect 9pm AEST Friday 20 March.
The ban applies to all those who do not fit into the following categories:
- Australian citizens
- Permanent residents
- Immediate family members of Australian citizens or permanent residents
- New Zealand citizens who reside in Australia.
- Travellers with compassionate or compelling reasons to travel to Australia can apply for an exemption.
Temporary Visa Holders
Holders of any temporary visas cannot overstay their visa. New visas will need to apply for new visas before the expiry of their current visa.
Those who’s visas have a “No further stay” condition (includes 8503, 8534 and 8535) can apply for an exemption where their visa has more than 2 months remaining validity.
Those who’s visa is subject to Condition 8558 (Non-resident cannot stay for more than 12 months in any 18 months period) will need to apply for a new visa.
Visas With Imminent Expiry
While most people have the option of returning to their home country, travellers will need to ensure that they review the situation in any countries that are stop off points to their final destination, so they don’t risk get stuck.
Before leaving, consider whether there are options for remaining in Australia. This could include tourist visas, or student visas.
Already Expired Visas
Applicants can apply for a BVE to legalise their stay.
Citizenship ceremonies are being affected by the ban on gatherings. This is likely to slow down the citizenship process.
All Visa Holders
All visa holders should be mindful that the conditions of their visa remain in effect, and you be mindful to check:
- Visa expiry dates
- Whether there is a ‘No Further Stay’ condition attached to their visa grant
- Loss of employment
- Visa applications requiring you to be overseas at time of grant
- Health check requirements
You should make sure that you maintain health insurance for the duration of your stay in Australia.
The Australian Border Force (ABF) has confirmed that there are currently no cases of CONVID-19 within detention facilities, however visits are now closed to maintain this status quo. Detainee access to legal representatives, consulates, embassies etc will need to be made via phone, Skype or other internet technologies.
If you have any queries about your circumstances and options, you can contact us. Our offices remains fully operational with our staff working remotely during ordinary business hours. Consultations can still be arranged by phone or videoconference.
It is important that you speak with a registered migration agent or lawyer rather than rely on some of the misinformation currently circulating.
PocketLegal is available to assist with all aspects of the Australian immigration process from beginning to end. If you need help with visa applications, sponsoring staff members, AAT Appeals, Federal Circuit Court hearings, or any other migration related issue then contact our friendly team via the form on this page or by calling 1300 921 114.