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Australia’s border restrictions – when will they open?

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At this stage there is no indication when our borders will open, and it looks like it will be 2021 at the earliest.

Whilst Australia has come out of the COVID-19 pandemic relatively unscathed compared to the rest of the world, our border remains closed unless you are Australian citizen, a permanent resident, an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident or are a New Zealand citizen usually resident in Australia.

Immediate family members are only considered as such if they are:

  • a spouse
  • a de facto partner
  • a dependent child/ren
  • a legal guardian.

We have received a lot of enquires as to what constitutes a guardian. A guardian, in relation to a child, is a person who has responsibility for the long-term welfare of the child and has all the powers, rights and duties that are vested by law or custom in the guardian of the child, other than:

  • the right to have the daily care and control of the child; and
  • the right and responsibility to make decisions concerning the daily care and control of the child.

If you are an immediate family member and want to travel to Australia you must get a visa and you will be required to provide proof to support your claim.

No matter who you are when you come to Australia there is a mandatory fourteen (14) day quarantine period which must be undertaken at a designated facility. These are generally at hotels in the city you arrive in.

The Commissioner of the Australian Border Force has the discretion to consider exemptions for people who would be subject to the current travel restrictions for:

  • foreign nationals travelling at the invitation of the Australian Commonwealth Government for the purpose of assisting in the COVID-19 response or whose entry would be in the national interest
  • critical medical services, including air ambulance and delivery of supplies, that regularly arrive in Australia from international ports
  • people with critical skills (for example, medical specialists, engineers, marine pilots and crews) by exception
  • diplomats accredited to Australia and currently resident in Australia, and their immediate family
  • ​case-by-case exceptions for humanitarian or compassionate reasons.

We have assisted many people in these categories and the Department of Home Affairs is prioritising visa applications for people who can satisfy the exemptions.

Contact our team of Registered Migration Agents and Immigration Lawyers at FC Lawyers, if you have any questions in relation to these issues or the current border restrictions.

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