On Monday the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the coronavirus has the potential to become a pandemic and countries should be prepared to deal with that possibility.
The global health emergency has meant many governments have put I place immigration-related measures to contain any further spread of the virus. These include:
- Notices advising against nonessential travel to Hubei Provence
- Many countries have introduced additional health screening procedures at some or all of their ports of entry
- Entry or travel restrictions at their ports of entry
As the gravity of the situation continues to rise and travel restrictions remain in place for Australia, there has at least been some sense of relief for permanent residents, immediate family members of Australian citizens and permanent residents, and those who hold Student (Temporary) visas in Australia.
Australian entry restrictions and exceptions
The Australian Government has announced they will deny entry to anyone who has left or transited mainland China within the previous 14 days, with the exception of:
- Australian citizens
- Permanent residents
- New Zealand citizens resident in Australia
- Immediate family members of Australian citizens and permanent residents including spouses, minor dependents and legal guardians
Visa cancellations and reapplication
The Government has also announced that for Student, Student Guardian and Visitor visa holders who had their visas cancelled due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) may be able to reapply. From today (25 February 2020) former visa holders can reapply for those visas and the VAC will be NIL.
In order to be eligible to reapply you the visa applicant must:
- Be onshore in Australia
- The visa must have been cancelled as a result of the risk in relation to Public Health Emergency of Internal Concern as designated by the WHO
- Reapply no later than 3 months after the cancellation
Currently there is no clarification on how offshore applicants will be able to reapply for these visas.
Stay up-to-date with the latest information from the WHO here.