Travel exemptions: navigating COVID-19 restrictions and what you need to know before you travel

Currently, nationwide travel restrictions remain in place, affecting thousands of people wishing to exit or enter Australia. A request for a 'travel exemption' is the only means by which some individuals and families can cross national borders and exit or re-enter the country. The following groups do not require a travel exemption to enter Australia: -Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members -New Zealand citizens usually resident in Australia and their immediate family members However, for non-citizens of Australia, including bridging and temporary visa holders on a wide range of visa classes, ongoing travel restrictions mean continued 'lockout' from international travel for a still undefined and uncertain period of time. The impact of these travel delays on individuals, their businesses, their families and on the economy are immeasurable. Applying for a travel exemption in the form prescribed by the Australian Government can be time-consuming and valid reasons for lodging an application are limited. The rates of successful travel exemptions in the various categories provide a snapshot of the current situation. Recent figures published by the Department…

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Visa updates: Victoria and NSW

VICTORIA Victoria’s 2020-21 Business and Investor Visa nomination program (subclass 188 and 132) opened on 8 September 2020. To help the state’s economic recovery and health response to the pandemic, the Commonwealth Department of Home Affairs has provided the Victorian Government with a short-term allocation of visa nomination places for the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP). The limited number of BIIP places are only available until 6 October 2020. The Federal Budget will outline what additional state nomination visa places will be allocated to the Victorian Government for the remainder of the 2020-21 program year. Please note, to ensure that all applications received can be assessed within the timeframe, applications close at 5pm AEST, 21 September 2020. Changes to nomination criteria When applying for the BIIP program between 8 September 2020 and 21 September 2020 there is one additional requirement. All visa applications must demonstrate that the business and investment activity will contribute to Victoria’s economic recovery or health response. The new requirement must be addressed in the ‘Economic Recovery - Business and Investment Support Form’. To…

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Immigration Update: Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List and Enhanced Labour Market Testing

On 2 September 2020 the Australian Government announced two key changes to Australia’s immigration laws ­– a new priority skills list has been introduced and labour market testing requirements have been strengthened for employer-sponsored visas. These changes are designed to address critical skills shortages and ensure employers first attempt to recruit qualified and experienced Australian citizens or permanent residents. Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) Skilled migrants will be essential in helping Australia get through the pandemic and rebuild the economy. A new PMSOL will allow a small number of sponsored skilled workers to come to Australia to fill critical skill shortages. The 17 occupations on the PMSOL were identified based on advice from the National Skills Commission, and in consultation with other relevant Commonwealth agencies. These occupations are: Chief Executive or Managing Director (111111) Construction Project Manager (133111) Mechanical Engineer (233512) General Practitioner (253111) Resident Medical Officer (253112) Psychiatrist (253411) Medical Practitioners nec (253999) Midwife (254111) Registered Nurse (Aged Care) (254412) Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency) (254415) Registered Nurse (Medical) (254418) Registered Nurse (Mental Health) (254422)…

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HONG KONG UPDATE: THE IMPACT OF THE NEW NATIONAL SECURITY LAW UPON HONG KONG BUSINESSES, INVESTORS AND FUTURE AUSTRALIAN VISA APPLICANTS

In a response to Hong Kong’s new National Security Law, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has suspended the country’s extradition agreement, extended visas for the estimated 10,000 Hong Kong people residing in Australia and announced that Australia is “looking to recruit” Hong Kong businesses. The new security law effectively gives Beijing the power to shape the lives of both individuals and businesses in Hong Kong. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said in a Press Conference on 9 July 2020 that there will be “new incentives and arrangements to attract export-orientated Hong Kong-based businesses to relocate to Australia, particularly where they have a strong potential for future growth and employment of Australians”, and that “through our global talent program… if there are businesses that wish to relocate to Australia, creating jobs, bringing investment, creating opportunities for Australia, then we will be very proactive in seeking to encourage that.” A 5 year temporary skilled visa with a pathway to permanent residency for future Hong Kong applicants will also be provided, subject to meeting an updated skills list and appropriate labour…

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COVID-19 Crisis and the Australian border shutdown

Madison Marcus has received numerous enquiries with respect to intending travellers, bridging visas, bridging visa holders and temporary visa holders. From 9pm AEDT 20 March 2020, only Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members can travel to Australia. All travellers to Australia are required to self-isolate for 14 days, either at home or in a hotel. Our Immigration and Global Mobility experts have prepared a comprehensive guide to the new restrictions that will be in place from 9pm AEDT 20 March 2020 Travel restrictions are subject to change. Please check back regularly for updates from our Global Mobility & Immigration Law experts.

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The Novel Coronavirus Travel Ban: How does this affect Bridging Visas, Extending Stay to Current Visas or Visas close to expiry?

To view this article in Mandarin, please click here Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marise Payne have imposed a travel ban as of February 1st which will deny foreign travellers from entry into Australia if they have left or passed through mainland China in order to contain the spread of the deadly Novel Coronavirus. Currently, there are 14 confirmed cases of the virus in Australia. We urge any existing applicants and visa holders to get in touch with our office as soon as possible if they believe that they might be affected or if their family members might be affected by the travel restrictions. Travel Restrictions The Australian Government has announced that all travellers arriving from China will be subject to enhanced border control measures to ensure the health, safety and well-being of the Australian community. Australia will deny entry to anyone who has left or transited China except for Australian citizens, permanent residents and immediate family members of Australian citizens or permanent residents. Moreover, limited exemptions also apply for airline and maritime…

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