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Covid-19 & Australia Visas

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Coronavirus and Australian Visas

15 March 2020 update (14-day self-isolation)

Australia’s prime minister has ordered a 14-day self-isolation for anyone arriving in the country to try to halt the spread of the COVID-19. “This is very important,” Scott Morrison said at a briefing, adding that the measure would take effect from midnight on Sunday (AEST), 15 March 2020. Foreign cruise liners will also be banned from docking in Australia for 30 days, but schools will remain open.

If you need immigration advise or assistance, please ring us on 02 9286 8700 or email us on ppmail@ppilaw.com.au; to book an appointment with our Lawyers or Migration Agents. We can also consult over the telephone, and Skype for those interstate or overseas and for those living in or near Sydney and who are concerned about leaving home at the moment.

If you have a visa with an expiry date and are not sure when it expires we suggest you check your visa grant conditions urgently – please refer to the No Further Stay Waiver information below.

COVID-19 (Novel coronavirus) has affected both Australian visa holders and those who are waiting to be issued their Australian visas. If you wish to remain in Australia beyond the expiry date of your current visa, you must apply for a further visa application beyond your current visa expiry date. In this case you may be eligible to be granted a bridging visa, which will keep you lawful in Australia until a decision is made on your visa application.

No Further Stay Condition (8503) and Coronavirus

If you are a visa holder in Australia and your current visa has the ‘No Further Stay’ condition attached? Can I stay in Australia? If your current visa includes a ‘No Further Stay’ condition (includes 8503, 8534 and 8535), you are unable to make a valid application for most other visas while you are in Australia. If you wish to remain in Australia beyond your visa’s expiry date, a request to waive this condition must be made.

The circumstances in which the minister might waive a ‘No Further Stay’ condition are:

  1. since the person was granted the visa that was subject to the condition, compelling and compassionate circumstances have developed:
    • over which the person had no control
    • that resulted in a major change to the person’s circumstances
  2. if the minister has previously refused to waive the condition, the minister is satisfied that the circumstances mentioned in paragraph (a) are substantially different from those considered previously
  3. if the person asks the minister to waive the condition, the request is in writing.

As there are travel restrictions for few countries and that are beyond the applicants control these can be considered “Compelling and Compassionate and therefore applicants from countries who have been affected by travel restrictions caused by Coronavirus may be able to apply for a waiver of the 8503 condition.

No Further Stay Condition (8503) waiver

For a waiver to be granted, the circumstances that have developed since the visa was granted must be both compelling and compassionate.

“Compelling and compassionate” circumstances can be understood as circumstances that:

  • are sufficiently forceful and convincing for the condition to be waived
  • are not unreasonable (in that no reasonable decision-maker could conclude that the circumstances are not compelling) and
  • give rise to feelings of sympathy for the suffering or misfortune of others.

The current travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 may meet the above definition for some visa holders.

Condition 8558 and Coronavirus

If you are a visa holder in Australia and your visa has condition 8558 (Non Resident cannot stay for more than 12 months in any 18 month period) and you have already been in Australia for nearly 12 months in the last 18 months? Can you stay in Australia beyond 12 months on your current visa? If you currently hold a visa which includes condition 8558, and you wish to remain in Australia for more than 12 months in any 18 month period, you will need to apply for a further visa in order to avoid breaching this condition.