Travel Exemptions – A 2021 Overview

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Travel Exemptions – How They look in 2021

Travel Exemptions – How They look in 2021

Travel Exemptions were introduced in 2020 in response to travel restrictions impacting people with legitimate reasons from entering Australia.

Reasons for needing a travel exemption include:
-          Having a compassionate and compelling need to travel urgently
-          Having a critical skill
-          Being an immediate family member (spouse, de-facto, dependent child or legal guardian) of an Australian citizen or permanent resident needing to travel to Australia
-          Needing urgent medical treatment or medical evacuation
-          Being a New Zealand resident who usually resides in Australia

Those requiring travel exemptions will also need visas such as visitor visas or temporary skills visas etc to enter Australia.

Since their introduction in 2020, travel exemptions have undergone relevant changes to reflect the changing landscape as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

What’s Changed?

Temporary visa holders
Temporary visa holders with critical skills required in Australia were once able to work in Australia for months on end and then visit family in their home country before returning to Australia to continue working. This is now rarely an option especially for those wishing to visit countries that are now labelled high risk due to the pandemic.

The government is also prioritising getting Australian citizens who are still stranded overseas home. Holding an airline seat for a temporary visa holder who may also be from a high-risk country is not high priority at the moment. Unfortunately for overseas workers their options are limited. They either have to stay in Australia away from their family indefinitely which is having an impact on mental health or return home with potentially no way of re-entering Australia to continue working which may impact their livelihood.

High Risk Countries
Many countries are considered high risk due to the pandemic. Travel exemptions to these countries will be scrutinised closely to determine whether travel to these countries by applicants is essential.

Just this week India was added to the high-risk country list due to the concerning situation developing there. As a result, the following actions will be taken:
-          The number of passengers on government-run repatriation flights from India will be reduced by 30%
-          Four scheduled repatriation flights from India will be pushed back from May to June
-          The number of commercial flights from India will soon be reduced by 30%

While these factors restrict travel to and from India to a degree there is pressure on the Australian government to potentially lockdown the border between Australia and India. These restrictions could be applied to any other high-risk country that poses a medical threat to Australia during the pandemic.

As is the situation with anything affected by the pandemic, travel exemptions are an ever-evolving issue and before the pandemic ends there is sure to be many more changes to the system.

To learn more about travel exemptions or any other aspects of migration contact Visa Solutions Australia on 1800 828 008.

Other Important Information
Those requiring travel exemptions will also need visas such as visitor visas or temporary skills visas etc to enter Australia.

Australian citizens, permanent residents and those transiting in Australia for less than 72 hours are not required to obtain a travel exemption.

Visa Solutions Australia specialises in travel exemptions and has launched a new website dedicated to this. Visit https://www.travelexemptionsaustralia.com.au.

To learn more about travel exemptions or any other aspect of migration, contact the Visa Solutions team on 1800 828 008.

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