Who Can Travel to Australia?

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Australia’s borders remain closed for international travel since March 20, 2020.  Presently, the only people who can travel into Australia are as follows;

  • Australian citizens
  • Residents
  • Immediate family members
  • New Zealand citizens who usually reside in Australia
  • Travellers who have been in New Zealand for the previous 14 days.  

For more information on this matter, please visit; covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/australian-citizen-or-permanent-resident

Measures Taken to Prevent Banned International Travel

The Australian Border Force liaison officers work with airlines at overseas airports to identify those who should not board flights into Australia.  Furthermore, the cruise ship ban is in place until December 17, 2020, reviewed regularly by the Australian Health Principal Protection Committee.  People arriving have to comply with mandatory quarantine and territory restrictions.

The Impact of Travel Restrictions

Such intent measures to protect the country from the ravaging pandemic have made a serious impact on the skilled workforce of Australia.  These restrictions have not only halted overseas holidays but also adversely affected those required to travel for employment.  Thus, the need for skilled employees especially in the mining, oil and gas industries cannot be filled presently. 

Travel Exemptions

To fill the demand for overseas workers with particular skills, Australia has recently been processing a large number of travel exemptions.  These exemptions allow the highly experienced overseas workers to come, in order to fill the gap in the demand for same.

Eligibility for Travel Exemptions

A travel exemption can be granted to experienced and skilled overseas workers and their immediate family members (spouse/de facto/children).  These workers should be holders of the subclass 482 or subclass 400 visas.  Travel exemptions may also be granted to persons with a compelling or compassionate reason.

Travel Exemptions Into Australia – Post Covid-19 Era. Required Documents

a. Letter Requesting a Travel Exemption

An overseas worker who requires a travel exemption should forward a letter requesting same to the Australian Border Force.  The letter should include details such as the applicant’s job description as well as background information of the Australian-based company.   Other aspects to be included are the ramifications of the worker not being able to undertake the role.

b. Letter of Support

When should a Letter of Support be Submitted to the Department of Home Affairs?

  • In case of the company being involved in a critical sector (medical, engineering etc.)
  • In the instance where the company is willing to support the applicant financially

What information should be furnished in the letter of support?

The letter should provide information such as the applicant’s current employer and how their expertise is required for the local role.  The required length of stay should also be mentioned in the letter.

Waiting Period

The waiting period can be from one day up to 5 weeks to be approved, depending on the urgency of the case.  Fourteen days of self-isolation on arrival in Australia also should be considered.

Travel Exemptions Into Australia – Post Covid-19 Era, Other Requirements.

  1. Travelling to Australia requires you to hold a visa as well as have a travel exemption.
  2. Usually a travel exemption needs to be granted before a visa to stay in Australia will be approved.  
  3. The online request for an exemption must be furnished with appropriate evidence to support your claims.  
  4. All documents need to be officially translated into English.
  5. Travel exemptions should be applied for at least two weeks, but not more than three months before the planned travel. 
  6. If the reason for travel is death or critical illness of a close family member, applications may be granted within this time frame.
  7. Evidence of the travel exemption decision should be furnished at the airport.

For more information on this matter, please visit; covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/travel-restrictions

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