COVID 19 Visa News Updates – March 17th 2020

As the Australian Government works proactively to combat current or potential issues arising from the global pandemic, which has already infiltrated our shores, adjustments to travel and/or visa conditions have become an almost daily occurrence.

From this perspective, Sellanes Clark is committed to keeping its clients and friends informed with stringent monitoring and regular updates:

Student Visa Holders – Extension of permitted working hours for shelf stacking

Ordinarily, students have been subject to a maximum of 40 hours work during terms.

A joint Ministerial release recently announced however, that students currently employed stacking shelves for major supermarkets will temporarily be permitted to work additional hours, in order to assist in keeping shelves stocked.

This initiative is available only to major supermarkets, including Woolworths and Coles; it applies only to existing employees in their existing roles and it will be capably administered by the Department of Home Affairs.

COVID 19 Visa and Travel Update

At today’s date, the following rulings are in place:

    • Commencing midnight March 15th 2020, all people arriving in Australia are required to self-isolate for a monitored period of 14 days. For non-compliance, some states have imposed very heavy penalties.
    • International cruise ships have been banned from arrival at Australian ports for the next 30 days.
    • Special arrangements have been put into place for airline and maritime crew staff, where specific requirements apply.
    • Australian citizens and permanent residents have not been prevented from entering Australia at this stage, but may be subject to self-isolation.
    • Immediate family members of Australian citizens or permanent residents – spouses, minor dependants or legal guardians only – holding permanent visas – may travel to Australia but will be subject to self-isolation.
  • Partners and immediate family members of Australian citizens and permanent residents – spouses, minor dependants or legal guardians only – who hold temporary visas are being dealt with by the Department on a strict case-by-case basis.

Prior to attempting travel, contact should be made with the relevant post, using the Australian Immigration Enquiry Form, as provided on the Department’s website.

Visa Holders Onshore

The Department’s latest announcement suggests that onshore visa holders who wish to extend their stay in Australia should apply for “an appropriate visa”.

In many cases, this may be a Visitor visa.

‘No Further Stay’ Waiver Conditions: 8503, 8534 and 8535

The Department has also announced the deployment of additional resources to the ‘No Further Stay’ waiver section, in order to deal with the increased volume of requests for waivers, where onshore visa holders seek to extend their stays.

A ‘No Further Stay’ waiver may be sought by completing Form 1447 and emailing it to NoFurtherStayWaiverRequest@homeaffairs.gov.au .

Visa Holders Offshore

Visa holders who are required to enter Australia by a specified date, but are prevented from doing so by the prevailing travel restrictions may now contact the section of the Department which issued the visa and request an extension to the entry date.

Bridging Visa B Holders

Offshore Bridging Visa B holders, who might now be unable to return before expiry date, may be able to consider applying for a visitor visa to return to Australia. A new application for Bridging Visa A should then be submitted, upon arrival onshore.

SHEV, TPV and PPV Holders Offshore

SHEV, TPV and PPV holders, with travel conditions attached and who are currently affected by travel restriction impositions, should contact the Department as soon as possible, by emailing travel.request@homeaffairs.gov.au .

The Department has confirmed that it will consider individual circumstances, with the view to providing assistance where possible. Return date extensions, delayed travel dates; each case will be assessed as appropriate.

Where an Applicant Needs to be Onshore to Lodge Visa

Where an applicant is required to be onshore in order to lodge application for required visa, that applicant should carefully consider whether travel to Australia, followed by 14 days of onshore self-isolation, remains viable to his or her specific situation.

Applicants attempting travel from countries where Australia already has travel bans in place will be required to spend a minimum of 14 days in a third country (where Australian travel bans have not been imposed) prior to proceeding to Australia and complying with its local requirement.

Reliable information is the key

Immigration law is a complex area; one which is constantly developing and evolving. We make it our business to stay in the forefront of this evolution, armed with the knowledge, skills and optimism, providing clients with current information, real guidance and the genuine assistance they deserve.

For more information on these or on any relating issues, contact the migration experts – Sellanes Clark and Associates – specialising in all immigration matters.