COVID-19 TRAVEL/VISA UPDATES
- Australian citizens and residents are currently banned from international travel with limited exceptions
- Many States & Territories have closed their borders
- All travellers arriving in Australia, including Australian citizens, face a mandatory 14-day quarantine at their point of entry into Australia
Travel & Visa Updates
Regular summaries from the Emergico Visa Team
28th March 2020
International Arrival Quarantine
International arrivals to Australia will now face a mandatory 14 day quarantine period at their point of entry. Arrivals will be quarantined in local accommodation, at no cost to them. This policy comes into force at 11:59pm tonight.
With all non-essential travel effectively banned in Australia, let’s look at Australia’s major airlines and the impact to travellers.
Qantas: Domestically, Qantas are suspending over half their fleet until at least 31st May. Find out which routes are impacted here. Internationally, the airline is suspending all international flights from the end of March until 31st May, with over 150 aircraft grounded. Updates available here.
Virgin Australia: Domestically, Virgin Australia have cut their capacity by 90 per cent. Almost all restrictions were implemented on or before March 27th. All international services are suspended from 30th March until 14th June.
Jetstar: A subsidiary of Qantas, Jetstar mainly fly domestically in Australia, where 70% of their service is suspended until 31st May. As with Qantas, Jetstar have suspended international flights entirely, until the same date. Options for anyone affected can be found here.
Tigerair: Owned and managed by Virgin Australia, Tigerair suspended all operations from March 25th until further notice.
26th March 2020
Travel Restrictions Updated
Entry to Australia is currently only available for citizens and permanent residents, immediate family members of citizens or PR (that is, spouse or dependent children), and New Zealand citizens who can prove they are normally resident in Australia. However, the Commissioner of Border Force has the discretion to grant additional entry exemptions to people on a case by case basis. This might include people with critical skill sets whose entry would be in the national interest in the fight against COVID, or other people on humanitarian or compassionate grounds. There is a special form for this purpose, which can be found here.
State Border Closures
Queensland’s border is now closed, and people entering Queensland must self-isolate for 14 days, unless exempt. Full details can be found here.
Arrivals to New South Wales will now have their temperature taken.
Administrative Appeals Tribunal
The Tribunal is not holding any face to face hearings. They may conduct hearings by teleconference or video.
BUPA has resumed visa medical appointments. If you need to book a visa medical in Australia you can now request an appointment through their website. There are some guidelines and restrictions.
25th March 2020
International Arrival Restrictions
A ban on Australian citizens travelling overseas was announced last night and will come into effect at midday today. Exceptions will be made on strictly “essential” or “compassionate” grounds, and for permanent residents of overseas countries.
Tigerair Australia, an airline owned and operated by Virgin Australia, suspended all services from 8:30am today until further notice.
24th March 2020
State Border Closures
It’s been a busy day of news for many States and Territories in Australia, as border closures and arrival requirements come into effect. Here’s the latest for each area:
Northern Territories: Strict border controls came into effect today. Arrivals must declare they will self-isolate for 14 days and provide their location upon entry. This is likely to continue until at least September.
South Australia: State borders are effectively closed. New arrivals are required to sign a declaration that they will self-isolate for 14 days and provide their address to the police.
Tasmania: Non-essential travellers, including returning residents, are subject to a mandatory 14 day quarantine from 20th March.
Western Australia: Borders in Australia’s largest State closed from today, 24th March, with all interstate arrivals required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales & Victoria: No border closures or entry requirements have been announced to date.
20th March 2020
From 9pm, only Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members can travel to Australia. In addition, arrivals are required to self-isloate for 14 days, either at home or at a hotel.
This is a dynamic situation, and there may not be answers to many questions at this time. We will update regularly.
Holders of a temporary Australian visa which has or is about to expire should visit our blog post to read more on this.
The Department hasn’t made their policy clear at this time. As far as we know, you have the standard 60 days to find a new employer.
We understand at this time the Department is exploring options to financially assist eligible onshore temporary visa holders who are affected through having lost jobs.
Answer coming soon
The Department hasn’t made their policy clear at this time. As far as we know, it’s business as usual for the time being. If this changes, we will update.
The Department of Home Affairs website is the best and most up to date source of information.