Corona Virus travel ban extended – Effect on visa holders and visa applicants.

The travel ban on international arrivals who have travelled through mainland China has been extended into its 5th week. As of 5 March 2020, the ban also includes arrivals from the Republic of Korea.

In addition to lowering visitor numbers the travel ban has directly impacted temporary visa holders who were in mainland China when the ban came into effect.

Many student visa holders who were due to commence or resume their studies in Australia in February have been unable to do so due to the ban. There have also been media reports of family members of Australian citizens and permanent residents being unable to enter the country even though the Federal Government announced they are excluded from the ban. The Migration Institute of Australia (MIA) says de-facto partners may be particularly affected as it is not clear whether they have been included as immediate family members for the purpose of this ban.

 

What about future visas’ eligibility?

 The consequences of the travel ban don’t stop at delayed arrivals, unfortunately. For some, the ramifications directly impact on their ability to comply with current visa conditions and/or apply for future visas. Examples include:

  •  Some Student Visa holders will not be able to complete their courses within the expiry date of their current visas and will be required to apply for a further student visa.
  • Student Visa holders intending to apply for Graduate visas may no longer be eligible as you must be in Australia to apply for this visa within 6 months of graduating and you must be in Australia at the time of the visa grant.
  • The break on study may impact on applicants meeting the ‘Australian Study Requirement’ or ‘Residence in a Regional Area Requirement’ in future Skilled Visas applications.
  • Visa applicants may be unable to meet specific State or Territory eligibility requirements of 6 or 12 months continued employment prior to applying for Nominated visas due to being unable to resume their current employment.
  • Visa applicants who are offshore on a Bridging B Visa expiring before they can return to Australia will need to apply for a further visa (e.g. visitor) to re-enter the country as this visa cannot be applied for whilst offshore

 

What is being done to counteract these issues?

  • The MIA has been active in pursuing answers from the Department of Home Affairs (the Department) in relation to these issues on behalf of Migration Agents.
  • Some States and Territories have announced exemptions to the ‘continued employment’ requirement will apply on a case by case basis.
  • Some Education Providers are making use of online resources to ensure students who are unable to enter Australia can catch up on course content. Affected students must liaise with their Education Providers directly for alternatives.
  • Study Queensland, Study Cairns and the Cairns Regional Council are working together to increase international Student numbers #In This Together.
  • Migration Plus is liaising with the Department on a case by case basis once we are notified by clients that they have been affected by the ban.
  • Migration Plus offers complimentary advice to TAFE students who have been impacted by the Corona virus ban.

Migration Plus will continue to update our clients as information becomes available.

If the travel ban has delayed your entry or re-entry to Australia and you are concerned about effects on your current visa or future applications, please contact us.