Coronavirus Visa Update @ 16 March 2020
In this blog, we explain the latest measures taken by the Australian Department of Border Protection in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. In short, we will discuss:
Aus Citizens, PR and Temporary Residents
Visa Holder Offshore
Visa Holder Onshore
New Zealand restrictions
1. Travel Bans
The current travel bans for those arriving from Mainland China, Iran, South Korea and Italy remain in place.
As of midnight tonight, 15 March 2020 all those arriving in Australia are required to self isolate for 14 days. Some states have already introduced heavy penalties for those who do not comply.
International cruise ships are now also banned from arriving at Australian ports for the next 30 days.
Special arrangements are in place for airline and maritime crew staff where specific containment arrangements are in place.
2. Australian citizens and permanent residents
Australian citizens and permanent residents are not prevented from entering Australia at this stage.
Those arriving in Australia will also be required to self isolate for 14 days.
Immediate family - spouses, minor dependants or legal guardians only - holding permanent visas may travel to Australia, however will be required to follow self isolation guidelines.
Partners and immediate families of Australian citizens and permanent residents holding temporary visas
Partners and immediate families of Australian citizens and permanent residents - spouses, minor dependants or legal guardians only - holding temporary visas are being dealt with on a case by case basis by the Department.
Before attempting to travel contact should be made with the relevant post using the Australian Immigration Enquiry Form provided on the Department's website.
3. Visa holders Onshore
The Department has to announced that onshore visa holders wishing to extend their stay in Australia should apply for an 'appropriate' visa. In many cases this may be a visitor visa.
No Further Stay waiver conditions 8503, 8534 and 8535
The Department has also announced that extra resources have been diverted to the No Further Stay waiver section to deal with the increased volume of requests for waivers to allow onshore visa holders to extend their stay.
A No Further Stay waiver may be made using Form 1447 and emailing to NoFurtherStayWaiverRequest@homeaffairs.gov.au
MIA members are reporting the waivers are generally being processed within days.
4. Visa holders Offshore
Visa holders offshore required to enter Australia by a specified date
Visa holders required to enter Australia by a specified date and prevented from doing so by the travel restrictions should contact the section of the Department that issued the visa and request an extension to the entry date.
Details for Departmental contact mailboxes are listed on the MIA's website under Member resources 'Contacting the Department'. Members will need to log in using their password to access this section of the MIA site.
Bridging Visa B holders offshore
Bridging Visa B holders offshore unable to return before expiry date may consider applying for a visitor visa to return to Australia. Bridging Visas A should then be applied for again when onshore.
SHEV, TPV and PPV holders offshore
SHEV, TPV and PPVV holders with travel conditions attached and who are affected by travel restrictions should contact the Department as soon as possible by emailing email@example.com
The Department will consider individual circumstances and assist where possible with extensions to return dates or delay in travel dates as appropriate.
Applicants required to be onshore for lodgement of visa
Applicants required to be onshore for the lodgement of visa will need to assess whether travel to Australia and 14 days self isolation onshore is viable to their specific situation.
Those wishing to travel from countries where Australia already has travel bans in place, will be required to spend at least 14 days in a third country where travel bans to Australia are not in place before proceeding to Australia.
5. New Zealand incoming traveller restrictions
From midnight 15 March 2020 every person entering New Zealand from anywhere in the world apart from the Pacific will be required to self-isolate for 14 days and register with Healthline (0800 358 5453).
These additional measures are temporary and will be reviewed after a period of 16 days on 31 March 2020. The complete travel ban for China and Iran remains in place.
The Pacific is defined for the purpose of the above restrictions as the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Wallis and Futuna.