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