Exemption to enter Australia and new priority list

Due to COVID-19, Australia has implemented strict border measures to protect the health of the Australian community. There are currently restrictions on people allowed to leave and enter Australia.

Enter Australia during travel restrictions:

People who can enter Australia without an exemption, are under one of the below categories:

  • an Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia
  • an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident (mainly holders of subclasses 100, 309, 801, 820, 101, 102 and 445 )
  • a New Zealand citizen usually resident in Australia and their immediate family members 
  • a diplomat accredited to Australia (holding a subclass 995 visa)
  • a traveller transiting Australia for 72 hours or less
  • airline crew and maritime crew including marine pilots
  • recruited under the Government approved Seasonal Worker Program or Pacific Labour Scheme
  • holder of a Business Innovation and Investment (subclass 188) visa

Or have been granted an individual exemption to enter Australia.  Such exemption can be granted under the following circumstances:

  • a non-citizen travelling at the invitation of the Australian Government or a State or Territory government authority for the purpose of assisting in the COVID-19 response
  • providing critical or specialist medical services, including air ambulance, medical evacuations and delivering critical medical supplies
  • a non-citizen with critical skills or working in a critical sector in Australia (including supply of goods and services, financial technology, film and media industry and theology fields)
  • a non-citizen sponsored by an employer to work in Australia in an occupation on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (which includes chief executive or managing director, construction project manager, mechanical engineer, developer programmer, software engineer, maintenance planner and medical professionals - full list is available here: Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL)
  • a non-citizen whose entry would otherwise be in the national interest, supported by the Australian Government or a state or territory government authority
  • military personnel, including those who form part of the Status of Forces Agreement, Commonwealth Armed Forces, Asia Pacific Forces and Status of Armed Forces Agreement
  • a student completing Years 11 and 12, with support from the relevant Australian State or Territory government, health authority and education department
  • travelling for compassionate and compelling reasons

Exit Australia during travel restrictions:

Australian citizens and permanent residents must also obtain an exemption to exit Australia during the COVID-19 crisis.

The application is done online and must meet one of the below categories:

  • your travel is as part of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including the provision of aid
  • your travel is essential for the conduct of critical industries and business (including export and import industries)
  • you are travelling to receive urgent medical treatment that is not available in Australia
  • you are travelling on urgent and unavoidable personal business
  • you are travelling on compassionate or humanitarian grounds 
  • your travel is in the national interest

The situation in regards to entry to Australia is regularly evolving and the above is current at the time of publication.

We can assist with visa and exemption to enter applications. If you or your family need to travel to Australia, contact us for professional advice on your situation, we are here to help.