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Immigration Update – COVID-19 & Other Updates 25th March 2020

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Immigration Lawyers

With many updates being provided by the Australian Government as the current COVID-19 situation unfolds, below are the most recent updates provided to us at Ethos Migration Lawyers for your information and reference.

Updates for incoming travellers to Australia:

There are extra exemptions being made available to persons wishing to travel to Australia who don’t fall under permanent residents or citizens of Australia.

These exemptions are available for:

  • New Zealand citizens who usually reside in Australia;
  • Immediate family members of Australian permanent residents and citizens;
  •  Transiting travellers.

If you fall under one of these categories, more information can be found here.

Other exemptions have come available for:

  • Foreign nationals who, with an invitation from the Australian Government, are travelling to Australia for the purpose of assisting with COVID-19;
  • Critical medical services arriving into Australia;
  • Persons who hold skills such as engineers, marine pilots, medical specialists etc.; and
  • Diplomats of Australia and their immediate families.

The Commissioner of the Australian Border Force is also looking into humanitarian and compassionate cases on a case by case basis.

All exemptions must be applied for and granted before commencing travel to Australia.

Updates for outbound Travel from Australia:

As of 12pm today, 25th March, new strict travel restrictions have been brought into place by the Australian Government.

  • No permanent resident or citizen of Australia is to travel outside of Australia unless an exemption is granted to them.
  • This Determination will be in place for the coming four weeks with a review period towards then end of those four weeks.
  • Strict punishments are being enforced for persons failing to comply with these new restrictions, for more information visit here.
  • There are exemptions to this including:
    • Persons who do not normally reside in Australia;
    • Crew workers of vessels and aircrafts;
    • Persons involved in freight, whether inbound or outbound;
    • Persons who travel for work which is deemed essential; and
    • Persons travelling for official government business.
  • The Australian Border Force can grant exemptions in regards to compassionate reasons.

Updates for Student visa holders:

The Australian Government is being flexible with the working restrictions imposed on student visas. The 40 hour per fortnight rule is being lifted for those working in specific areas within Australia. Student visa holders who work in supermarkets are eligible for the relaxed working restrictions. Their employers will need to submit a form for approval to obtain these extra working rights for employees.

Students working in aged care are also eligible for relaxed restrictions of their working hours. For those aged care facilities that are registered with the Department of Health, there is no need to apply for permission on these working arrangements.

Updates for South Australian 188 & 132 Visas:

Immigration of South Australia has advised that they have reached their capacity for applications for the 2019-2020 nominated Business Visa Subclass 188 & 132.

You can register an ‘Intention to Apply’ for the 2020-2021 program.

Updates regarding Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) in the Migration and Refugee division:

  • All hearings going forward will be conducted via telephone when appropriate;
  • There will be no further ‘in person’ hearings until further notice;
  • Tribunal and registry staff will be working remotely until further notice;
  • Hearings regarding protection visas will be conducted via telephone or by paper.

Anyone who may have a difficulty with their appeal being conducted via telephone is encouraged to contact the Tribunal as soon as possible to discuss other alternatives. Difficulty may arise due to disability, hearing or location and people affected by any of these should discuss this directly with the Tribunal or with their representation.

We understand the tough times being endured by citizens, residents temporary or permanent, and businesses in Australia.

We will continue to work with you in order to ease the stress around your migration needs. Should we receive further updates, we endeavor to inform you as soon as possible.

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