Urgent Australian Immigration Updates on Travel, Documentation, Citizenship & Exemptions in 2020

In the wake of COVID-19, the following aims to provide some updates in relation to various Immigration matters in Australia 2020. Please, ensure to contact our Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast office for the latest changes in Australian immigration 2020 to stay current.

Citizenship ceremonies

The Department of Home Affairs (Immigration and Citizenship) is delivering online citizenship ceremonies via secure video-link for those applicants who have already been approved to become Australian citizens.

It is important to note that, in general, those who have had their citizenship approved have 12 months from their notice of approval to attend a ceremony and make the pledge of commitment. That said, due to COVID-19, citizenship approval will not be canceled if an approved individual cannot attend a ceremony within this 12 months period.

New applications for citizenship

New applications for Australian citizenship are being accepted by the Department and the processing continues on all applications for Australian citizenship that have already been lodged with the Department.

The Department advises that those eligible individuals who have applied for citizenship will be contacted to attend a citizenship appointment or test. The in-person citizenship appointments and tests in regional locations are currently on hold and resumption of these services will be announced as information becomes available. Currently, in-person citizenship appointments are available at the Department’s offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Parramatta, Perth, and Sydney.

latest changes in australian immigration 2020

Travel restrictions

Currently, Australia has border restrictions in place and very limited flights are available to and from Australia. Before you decide on your travel to or from Australia, please check if you could do so. There are only limited exemptions available allowing people to come or depart from Australia. Some of these are as follows:

Coming to Australia

Unless you are an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or New Zealand citizen usually residing in Australia or an individual eligible to meet the exemption list, you cannot travel to Australia. It is important to note that all travelers arriving in Australia, including Australian citizens, must quarantine for 14 days at a destination facility and they may be required to pay for the costs of their quarantine.

What documentation is required to show ordinary residency in Australia and where to present these?

The evidence of valid Australian residency must be provided at the check-in point at the airport. The documentation may include Australian Government-issued documents such as your Medicare card or driver’s license. However, these must be supplemented by a secondary document such as a current employment record or evidence of owning or renting a property in Australia. These will be verified against your travel history before you are allowed to board the flight. You are advised to check in advance whether your condition falls within the residency status as defined by the Department.

Exemption categories for people who intend to come to Australia

  • An Australian citizen;
  • A permanent resident of Australia;
  • An immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident;
  • A New Zealand citizen usually resident in Australia and their immediate family members;
  • A diplomat accredited to Australia (holding a subclass 995 visa);
  • A traveler transiting Australia for 72 hours or less;
  • Airline crew;
  • The maritime crew including marine pilots; and
  • Persons recruited under the Government approved Seasonal Worker Program or Pacific Labour Scheme

Other exemption categories for people who intend to come to Australia

Upon an application being lodged, the Commissioner of the Australian Border Force may grant an individual exemption if the individual is:

  • A non-citizen traveling at the invitation of the Australian Government or a state or territory government authority for the purpose of assisting in the COVID-19 response;
  • Providing critical or specialist medical services, including air ambulance, medical evacuations, and delivering critical medical supplies;
  • A non-citizen with critical skills or working in a critical sector in Australia;
  • A non-citizen whose entry would otherwise be in the national interest, supported by the Australian Government or a state or territory government authority; and
  • Military personnel, including those who form part of the Status of Forces Agreement, Commonwealth Armed Forces, Asia Pacific Forces, and Status of Armed Forces Agreement
  • Traveling for compassionate and compelling reasons.

How to apply for an exemption

To complete a travel exemption request you should already hold a visa and you should provide information and documents to support your request. Requests may be finalized without further consideration if insufficient evidence is provided. This may include the following:

  • Proof of identity;
  • Evidence that you hold a valid visa;
  • Travel itinerary;
  • Marriage, birth, death certificate/s;
  • Proof of relationship or residence (such as a shared tenancy agreement, joint bank account, etc.);
  • Letter from a doctor or hospital, indicating why travel is necessary;
  • Letter from an employer indicating why travel is necessary;
  • Supporting letter from a business or government agency, advising why your skills are critical; and
  • The statutory declaration to support your claims.

You need to apply for an exemption at least two weeks, but not more than three months, before your planned travel.

Talk to us if you need our assistance in order to lodge a travel exemption request. We will provide you with premier immigration advice and services. Only a registered migration agent can legally provide advice on the latest changes in Australian immigration 2020.

Article Source: Migration Law