The situation surrounding COVID-19 Pandemic is unprecedented and changing every hour. The travel bans many countries imposed are impacting visa holders in Australia and we prepared answers to the most common questions related to the Coronavirus and immigration. We will keep you up to date on any news as the situation evolves.
1. Who can enter Australia during the travel ban?
Only Australian citizens, Permanent residents and their immediate family members can enter Australia until the travel ban is lifted.
Family members on temporary visas other than Partner or Child visas must request an exemption before the travel.
After arrival, everybody is required to self-isolate for 14 days.
2. What are my options if my visa is expiring soon and I cannot leave Australia?
In this case, you must apply for a new visa before your current visa expires. The Department of Immigration is taking a more flexible approach to granting short term visitor visas to remain in Australia during travel bans. There may be other visa options for you, so please always consult your options with professional.
Please be mindful of your visa expiry dates. This date cannot be extended.
3. I am a holder of a sponsorship visa 457/482 and I lost my job due to the COVID-19 situation. What are my options?
Employer-sponsored visa holders are allowed to work for only for their sponsor and must not cease working for more than 60 days. However you are entitled to a period of leave (paid or unpaid) and in some situations, you can work from home, so your employer can explore these options with you.
At this stage, there were no changes announced regarding the visa conditions on the employer-sponsored visas. We will keep you posted on any news.
4. Is there any support from the government for temporary visa holders affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic?
There are negotiations happening at the moment. The Social Services Minster announced that the Government is exploring how it can assist foreign workers who have lost their jobs but are unable to return home, such as workers in the tourism and hospitality sectors.
Currently, the support from Centrelink is only available for Australian citizens or permanent residents. The Legislation is pending to provide support to newly arrived residents who have lost their jobs due to Coronavirus. Once it is passed, the usual 2 or 4 years waiting period will be waived.
5. I have a visa application in progress but I am unable to provide some documents like English test results or medical examinations due to the lockdown. What should I do?
Although no official release has been issued, it seems that the Department will take a more flexible approach and provide extensions. The peak Migration Industry bodies are negotiating with the the Deparment to introduced measures in dealing with the visa applications during this situation.
6. I am in Australia on a visa which has No Further Stay condition. What can I do, can I stay in Australia?
If your visa has No Further Stay condition attached to it (8503, 8534 or 8535) you must apply for a waiver of this condition prior to making a visa application. The request for waiver needs to explain that you are unable to travel. Usually, it takes around 28 days to receive a decision on a waiver request, however, in this situation the Department is prioritizing the waiver requests for people affected by the Coronavirus.
7. I am outside Australia but my visa will expiry before I can travel. What can I do?
The visa validity period cannot be extended and therefore if you are in this situation you will need to apply for a new visa to travel to Australia once the travel ban is lifted.
This includes holders of Bridging visa B whose travel period has expired. They may consider applying for a visitor visa to return to Australia.
Team at OnBoard Study & Migration is here to support you during the coronavirus border restriction time. Do not hesitate to Contact us if you require assistance or have any questions.