Coronavirus Update: Australia in lockdown, Abacus Visa operating as usual

In the last 24 hours, Australia has been adjusting to a new normal in which pubs, clubs, gyms, cinemas and places of worship will be closed for the foreseeable future.

Abacus Visa remains operating as usual - however, in the interest of the wellbeing of our customers, employees and the broader community, we have moved our services online. We will continue to provide timely advice for our customers in relation to all visa applications and inquiries, and are communicating individually with those who find themselves in urgent need of assistance.

To receive further updates on COVID-19 and other important immigration policy changes, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter.

Below is a short summary of the impact of immigration policies on visa holders as of today.

Total travel ban

 As of 20 March 2020, only Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members can travel to Australia. Our previous Newsflash outlines what Australia's total travel ban means for temporary visa holders (both onshore and offshore) and those currently applying for citizenship.

Visa holders in Australia unable to return home

Many people have found themselves both:

  • unable to return to their home countries due to restrictions on international travel, and
  • holding temporary visas due to expire soon.

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has acknowledged these extraordinary circumstances and have made special arrangements to deal with such cases. In particular, visa holders with a ‘No Further Stay’ condition attached to their visas can request a waiver. Urgent waiver requests are expected to be processed fairly quickly. Both the COVID-19 enhanced border measures and individual circumstances will be taken into account.

Visa processing times

While visa processing times are publicly accessible on the DHA website, these have not been updated since 21 February. Recently, the DHA has advised that some services relating to the application process may be impacted by COVID-19.

For both onshore and offshore visa applicants, uncertainty over the duration of new lockdown measures could mean longer processing delays than usual.

Citizenship applications

We are aware that face-to-face citizenship interviews were still being held last week; however, due to rapid developments in the last few days, applicants should prepare for interviews to be suspended or delayed. At the time of writing, there has been no official statement from the DHA. We will continue to monitor the situation and alert clients as soon as there is further clarification.

To find out more about how the temporary travel restrictions apply inn your particular situation, book a consultation with one of our migration agents today.

contact us

+61 2 9212 4008

51 Albion Street,
Surry Hills,
Sydney NSW 2010

Monday to Friday
9am - 5:30pm
(or flexible by appointment)

Abacus Visa Pty Ltd. ACN: 147099303
Abacus Visa & Migration Services Pty Ltd. ABN: 58169966036
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DISCLAIMER: No material on this website, including but not limited to documents, articles, general comments, responses and other communications should be interpreted as relevant or accurate legal advice for any individual or specific situation. The information is of a general nature and cannot substitute for professional legal advice. Such advice is only provided by our firm following the acceptance by a client of our written agreement, and the payment of the required fees.