How is COVID-19 affecting Australians and visa holders?

With an evolving situation because of the novel Coronavirus outbreak, a lot of changes are happening quickly with the Government working on containing the virus and helping those who are affected. Among those changes include not allowing foreigners coming to Australia starting March 20th, where only Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members can still come to Australia – a valid visa is still mandatory. Effective March 29th, those arriving to Australia are to be transported directly to designated facilities after appropriate immigration, customs and enhanced health checks. As usual, some exceptions might apply where a visa holder who is not an Australian Permanent Resident or Citizen can be allowed to enter Australia, so long as they submit a request  once they have their visa granted. In the request they would need to address compelling and compassionate reasons why they should be granted approval to enter Australia.

Travelling from Australia is no longer allowed for citizens and permanent residents to counteract the pandemic outbreak. These restrictions do not apply to those who usually reside in a different country and need to go back, ​​​airline and maritime crew and associated safety workers, New Zealand citizens holding a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa, ​people engaged in the day to day conduct of outbound and inbound freight and others.

If you are an Australian citizen or PR, currently in Australia and need to travel, you can apply online for an exemption and provide reasons why it is necessary for you to travel offshore.

 If you are a visa holder and your visa is about to expire and need to extend your stay, you need to apply for a new visa as soon as possible. Talk to a migration agent to help you find the right visa for you and streamline the entire process to ensure you are granted a bridging visa that will keep you lawful until a decision is made on your new visa application. ​

If your visa has no further stay condition (includes 8503, 8534 and 8535), you will need to apply for the ‘no further stay’ condition to be waived before being able to apply for another visa onshore.  We recommend to talk to our migration agents who can assist to successfully lodge a request to waive this condition of  ‘no further stay’ due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Explore your visa options as soon as you can by talking to an immigration specialist, who will help you obtain a bridging visa A or B depending on your visa conditions and validity. It is important to always ensure that you don’t overstay your visa and become unlawful in Australia which may impact negatively on future visa applications to Australia.

International students in Australia

Those who are on a student visa in Australia might be able to get more hours at major supermarkets to help keep shelves stocked, or to fill critical staff shortages in aged care. Those who are enrolled in nursing programs can now undertake work to help and support the health effort against COVID-19 as directed by health officials. 

The Government has already issued approved employers with a letter that confirms that students visa will not be cancelled if they exceed the 40 hours per fortnight. These changes have not been updated on VEVO.

Those who are overseas and are unable to return to Australia to resume their studies may need to have their study deferred, without getting their student visa affected. If students require longer time to continue their studies, they will need to apply for a new student visa.

Due to the significant impact of COVID-19 on international travel arrangements, the International Organization for Migration and the UNHCR have temporarily suspended resettlement departures for refugees since mid-March.

Follow the latest updates on our Covid-19 updates page relating to migration changes and visa updates. If you need assistance with any type of visa, get in touch with our registered migration agents now.