If you are in Australia

Update: 30 March 2020

Who can leave Australia?

From 25 March 2020, all Australian citizens and Australian permanent residents are restricted from travelling overseas. 

This restriction does not apply to the following persons:

  • Any person ordinarily resident in a country other than Australia
  • Airline and maritime crew and associated safety workers
  • New Zealand citizens holding a Special Category (subclass 444) visa
  • People engaged in the day to day conduct of outbound and inbound freight 
  • People whose travel is associated with essential work at offshore facilities and
  • People travelling on official government business, including members of the Australian Defence Force

Anyone not meeting the above criteria can apply for an exemption to the Commissioner of the ABF. Department of Home Affairs advice is to apply for the exemption as early as possible and take evidence of the exemption to the airport.

What should you do if you hold a temporary visa that is expiring soon?

If you are a temporary visa holder who is unable to leave Australia due to global travel restrictions, you need to apply for another visa before your current visa expires.The options available to you will depend on your individual circumstances.

If you have a No further stay condition (condition 8503, 8534 and 8535) you will need to request a wavier prior to applying for a visa in Australia. If your request is approved, you can lodge a visa application in Australia.

Can temporary visa holders facing financial hardship access welfare?

It has been reported in the media that Social Services Minister Anne Ruston has confirmed that the government is working to determine what options are there to assist visa holders who suffer financial hardship during the corona virus crisis. We will provide an update if we receive any further information on this. 

Bupa Medical Disruptions

Bupa has announced that in line with the current evolving situation within COVID-19 that they will not be taking new booking and are rescheduling existing bookings. New bookings are due to become available in coming days once the existing bookings have been scheduled. 

If you received a request to complete your health examination by the Department of Home Affairs within 28 days, you can request an extension based on the extenuating circumstances. Please note that you will be able to still lodge visa applications pending health checks, so this should not impact you if you have an imminent visa expiry in Australia.

AAT Changes to hearings and conferences

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) is implementing measures to safeguard from Covid-19 and has announced that it will not be conducting any ‘in person’ hearings for the foreseeable future. Hearings will be conducted by telephone, where the matter is suitable to this format of hearing. Those who may have difficulty in participating in a telephone conference/hearing due to disability, location, etc should contact the Tribunal to discuss other ways the case may be decided.

The Registry will be shutting to the public from 25 March 2020 and members should continue to lodge applications online or by post.

International student employees to help Australian supermarkets

Department of Home Affairs has relaxed the 40 hours a fortnight work restriction applicable to international students working for major Australian supermarkets. Currently this is available to the major supermarkets such as Coles and Woolworths, and other supermarkets that have registered with the Department of Home Affairs. You can find the registered organisations on the following link: Temporary relaxation student working hours

Visa work restrictions have been lifted on 20,000 international student nurses

On Wednesday, 18 March 2020, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that nursing students in Australia who are already studying and working in Australia will be made available to help and support the health effort across the country.

Under this arrangement, the 40 hours a fortnight work limitation is expected to be lifted allowing nursing students to help fill the temporary staff shortages in aged care centres. The Department of Home Affairs will provide further information on how employers can access this.

Contact us

We appreciate these are extremely challenging times. If you are impacted by the ongoing travel restrictions or change in circumstances and need immigration advice or assistance, call us on 1300 98 70 71 and speak to a Registered Migration Agent in the AMES Skilled Migration Service team.


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