Australian Border Restrictions – Further Update

By 6 August 2020September 10th, 2020No Comments

This updates our previous post on this topic on 28 July 2020.

In a significant change of process, the Department of Home Affairs and the Australian Border Force (ABF) have now confirmed that a travel waiver can be applied for and approved before or after a visa application is lodged or granted although the website is yet to be updated. Practically, this means travel permission can be sought before incurring the costs of the visa, although many employers will still want to ensure visa lodgement under their usual processes.

We have also clarified with the Department that:

  1. Travel permission is only valid for one entry into Australia and visa holders must apply for a separate travel exemption for each and every entry to Australia.
  2. It is possible for a temporary visa holder in Australia to lodge a request for travel permission before they depart Australia.
  3. It is possible to link together multiple travellers (although each application will still be assessed separately).

The Department and ABF have also expanded the sectors and skills they will consider critical enough to ‘outweigh the risk to the Australian community’ by permitting entry. A travel waiver will now be considered for individuals:

  • with critical skills required to maintain the supply of essential goods and services (such as in medical technology, critical infrastructure, telecommunications, engineering and mining, supply chain logistics, agricultural technology, food production, and the maritime industry);
  • delivering services in sectors critical to Australia’s economic recovery (such as financial technology, large scale manufacturing, film and television production and emerging technology), where no Australian worker is available.

Importantly, the examples listed are not comprehensive and those with critical skills or in companies delivering services in other critical sectors may still be eligible if the case is well argued and supported.

By allowing employers to essentially test whether an employee will be permitted to travel before lodging the visa, we expect that the number of applications for travel exemptions will increase and it is likely the ABF will start charging a fee.

Please contact us to discuss whether your employees might meet the newly expanded categories.

DISCLAIMER This information is current as of 6 August 2020 and subject to change. The information contained in this publication is of a general nature only. It should not be used as legal advice. To the extent permissible by law, Ajuria Lawyers and its associated entities shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, defects or misrepresentations in the information or for any loss or damage suffered by persons who use or rely on such information. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

DISCLAIMER This information is current as of 14 July 2020 and subject to change. The information contained in this publication is of a general nature only. It should not be used as legal advice. To the extent permissible by law, Ajuria Lawyers and its associated entities shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, defects or misrepresentations in the information or for any loss or damage suffered by persons who use or rely on such information. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Have more specific questions about your visa? Get in touch with Ajuria Lawyers today.

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Author Ron Kessels

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