COVID 19 Visa News Updates – March 19th 2020

Endeavours to control the threat of the Coronavirus continue as today, Australian Prime Minister, The Hon Scott Morrison MP, announces further restrictions due to come into effect on the country’s borders from 9pm on Friday March 20th.

Travel bans extended

From this point, only Australian citizens, permanent residents and their close family members may enter Australia and even they will be subject to the 14 day monitored self-isolation arrangements. Visitors, tourists and students will not be allowed entry.

An exception was made for New Zealand citizens traveling direct to Australia, again subject to 14 day monitored self-isolation.

BUPA Visa Health Examinations

BUPA has advised that it is not currently accepting new bookings for visa medical examinations and that it is in the process of rescheduling some existing bookings.

This is a temporary measure only. New bookings will again be made available in the coming days, as existing commitments have successfully been rescheduled and resources determined.

Customers with existing bookings will receive early notification, only should it become necessary to reschedule their appointments. No action or deferment will be required unless specifically notified.

Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) changes

As a means of managing health risks and in order to combat the spread of coronavirus COVID 19, the AAT has advised that, from Friday 20th March 2020, all “in person” hearings, conferences and other events will be dealt with by telephone or by video link.

AAT Registries will continue to operate however and remain contactable via online services, email or telephone.

VETASSESS – Cancellation of Offshore Assessments

Effective immediately, VETASSESS has cancelled all offshore skills assessments.
Although this decision will not initially impact assessments for Professional Occupations the following trade assessments would be immediately affected:

  • South Africa (27th March to 5th April 2020): Electrical, Air Conditioning Refrigeration Mechanics and Plumbers (General).
  • Philippines (27th April – 1st May 2020): Automotive and Engineering Trades, Mechanical Engineering.
  • United Kingdom (13th May to 14th May 2020): Electrician (General), Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic.
  • India (19th May to 22nd May 2020): Electrician (General)

All affected parties, who had imminent plans to attend a VETASSESS offshore assessment venue will be contacted, as for the foreseeable future technical interviews will continue in an online format.

ACT 491 and 190 Nominations

The ACT Government has advised that although all applicants for ACT 491 or 190 nominations must continue to meet eligibility criteria as at the date of Matrix submission, those applicants who have legitimately been impacted be COVID 19 may now request a waiver of the “continuous employment” condition, strictly subject to the following circumstances:

  1. Travel ban
  2. 14 day self-isolation
  3. ACT business closure

All requests for a COVID 19 waiver must be made in writing, attached to the application and evidenced by satisfactory supporting documentation.

Keeping up-to-date as matters evolve

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.