Immigration COVID-19 update

Immigration COVID-19 update

 

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Update as at 29 March 2020

From 29 March 2020, all travellers entering Australia (including Australian citizens and permanent residents) are required to undertake a mandatory quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Travellers will be transported directly from the airport of arrival to designated facilities. The designated facilities where the quarantine will take place (for example a hotel) will usually be in the city of arrival in Australia. This mandatory quarantine requirement is in place until further notice. 

 

Updates as at 25 March 2020

From midday 25 March 2020, Australian citizens and permanent residents are restricted from travelling outside Australia (by air or sea or the operator of an outgoing aircraft or vessel), unless an exemption is granted to them. This Determination is in force for an initial period of 4 weeks. 

If an Australian Citizen or permanent resident must travel, they are required to make a request in writing only if one of the following exemptions apply:

  • they are a person ordinarily resident in a country other than Australia;
  • they are a person who is member of the crew of an aircraft or vessel (other than an outgoing aircraft vessel) or if a worker associated with the safety or maintenance of the aircraft or vessel;
  • they are a person engaged in the day to day conduct of inbound and outbound freight;
  • they are a person whose travel is associated with essential work at an offshore facility;
  • they are a person who is travelling on official government business (including a member of the Australian Defence Force);
  • exceptional circumstances or compelling reason for needing to leave Australian territory.

An exemption must be granted to the Australian Citizen or permanent resident prior to them departing Australia. A person who fails to comply with the travel restriction may commit a criminal offence and be imprisoned for a maximum 5 years, or be fined 300 penalty units ($63,000).

PwC's immigration team can assist with travel exemptions for individuals travelling inbound to or outbound from Australia, if there are compelling or compassionate reasons. Please contact your PwC immigration advisor for further details.

 

Updates as at 23 March

The Australian Department of Home Affairs will consider requests from temporary visa holders affected by the travel ban to travel to Australia. Please note only travellers who have compassionate or compelling reasons to travel to Australia should contact the Department for an exemption. Please find a link to the exemption form here: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/departmental-forms/online-forms/covid19-enquiry-form

Travellers should wait for the Department's response about whether an exemption is granted before arranging travel to Australia. If granted an exemption to travel, travellers should ensure they carry evidence of adequate accommodation arrangements in Australia to comply with the 14 day self isolation requirement.

 

Updates as at 20th of March

The Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has confirmed the Australian travel ban is for all international travellers to Australia. The only exemptions are for:

  • Australian citizens
  • Australian permanent residents
  • Immediate family members of Australian citizens and permanent residents (immediate family includes spouses, legal guardians and dependents)
  • New Zealand citizens who live in Australia as Australian residents, and
  • New Zealand citizens transiting through Australia on their way to New Zealand and Pacific Islanders transiting through Australia on their way to their home countries.

Please note the travel ban takes effect from 9pm AEDT on Friday 20 March 2020. Restrictions are in place until further notice. Please bookmark this website for further updates.

Those exempt from the travel ban will continue to be subject to a 14 day self isolation period upon arrival in Australia.

You should consider the following at this time:

  • If you are a temporary visa holder (including a 482 visa holder), and are currently outside of Australia and wish to return, we recommend that you return to Australia before the 9pm AEDT travel ban commencement on Friday 20 March 2020
  • When entering Australia, we recommend all visa holders carry evidence of adequate accommodation arrangements in Australia to comply with the 14 day self isolation requirement
  • Immediate family members of Australian citizens and permanent residents must ensure they hold a valid Australian visa in their own right. Before attempting to travel to Australia, immediate family members of Australian citizens and permanent residents (who are not permanent residents themselves) should contact the Department of Home Affairs using the Immigration Enquiry Form provided on the Department's website for pre-travel clearance. Here is a link: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/departmental-forms/online-forms/australian-immigration-enquiry-form . Immediate family members must attach proof that they are related to an Australian citizen or permanent resident into the Immigration Enquiry Form. This can include a marriage certificate, evidence of de-facto relationship (such as shared finances and/or property), birth certificates for children etc. We also recommend carrying proof of relationship with you when you enter Australia
  • Partner and Child visa holders (except Prospective Marriage visa holders) are exempted from the travel ban and can come to Australia. They will need to self isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Australia, either at home or in a hotel
  • New Zealand citizens who live in Australia as Australian residents may wish to carry evidence of their Australian residency when entering Australia (for example an Australian driver's licence or other official documentation showing their name and residential address in Australia)
  • New Zealand and Pacific Island nation citizens transiting through Australia should carry evidence of their onward flights out of Australia
  • Temporary visa holders already in Australia may remain in Australia. However temporary visa holders must maintain a valid visa. 

These are challenging times, and we are here to support you in any way we can. Please contact PwC Australia's immigration team if you need help or advice. 

 

Update as at 19th of March

The Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has announced a travel ban on all non-residents and non-Australian citizens coming into Australia. This will be effective from 9pm AEDT on Friday 20 March 2020. More details on how this will impact existing Australian visa holders to follow.

 

Update as at 18th of March

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has advised all Australians not to travel overseas at this time. This is the highest advice level (4 out of 4). The Department has urged all Australians who are overseas and wish to return to Australia to do so as soon as possible before global travel restrictions intensify. Australian consular support overseas may be limited due to the restrictions on movement and other services. 

The Department's update can be found here: https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/news-and-updates/coronavirus-covid-19  

 

Update as at 16th of March

Over the weekend the Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a universal precautionary self-isolation requirement to halt the spread of COVID-19. From midnight 15 March 2020 onwards:

  • all international arrivals to Australia are required to self-isolate for 14 days after arrival. This includes Australian citizens and permanent residents
  • all cruise liners from foreign ports are banned from arriving at Australian ports for 30 days

In addition, restrictions will continue to apply to travellers arriving from any part of mainland China, Republic of Korea, Italy and Iran. Australia will deny entry to anyone who has left or transited through one of these countries within the previous 14 days. Australian citizens and permanent residents, their immediate family members and New Zealand citizen residents of Australia are exempt, however are required to self-isolate at home for 14 days from the day they left mainland China, Republic of Korea, Italy or Iran.

Some state governments (including Queensland, NSW and Victoria) have already passed laws introducing heavy penalties for those who do not comply with self-isolation requirements.

What you should consider for your business and your people

  • Do you have any Australian employees travelling overseas at the moment? These employees and their business leaders will need to be informed of the self-isolation requirement.
  • Do you have any temporary visa holders travelling overseas at the moment? These employees and their business leaders should also be made aware of the self-isolation requirement. We would recommend that they carry evidence of adequate accommodation arrangements in Australia for their self-isolation. 
  • Are any of these Australian employees (i.e. Australian citizens or permanent residents) travelling with immediate family members on temporary visas? The Department of Home Affairs is considering the entry of immediate family members travelling on temporary visas on a case by case basis, especially if they have travelled through mainland China, Republic of Korea, Italy and Iran.
  • Do you have any temporary visa holders nearing their visa expiry date? We recommend that you consider further visa pathways to ensure they can remain in Australia, if required.
  • Do you have any temporary visa holders with a "no further stay" condition attached to their visa? If they are impacted by COVID-19, the Department of Home Affairs might consider a waiver for this cohort.
  • Do you have any employees who are currently offshore and need to enter Australia by a specified date for visa purposes? This cohort might be able to request for an entry date extension, or otherwise may need to make arrangements for another entry visa. 

Please contact your PwC immigration advisor if you have any questions or require further analysis on any of these or other visa situations. 

These self-isolation requirements are temporary and will be reviewed frequently by the Australian government; we will continue to keep you updated. If you have any questions or concerns about how these restrictions will impact your people, your visas or your business, please contact your PwC Immigration advisor below. 

 

 

Contact us

Carter Bovard

Asia-Pacific Immigration Practice Leader | MARN: 0956696, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 3 8603 1879

Nikki Dryden

Director - US Immigration, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 2 8266 5652

Stacey Tsui

Director | MARN 0747379, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 2 8266 0734

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