Australia implements a new temporary travel restriction effecting all travellers arriving from, or who have transited mainland China
The Australian Government has announced that all travellers seeking to travel to Australia from any part of mainland China, regardless of nationality, will be subject to enhanced border control measures to address the public health risks associated with the global outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus. Australia will deny travel to or entry into Australia to anyone who has left or transited mainland China from 1 February 2020 with limited exceptions.
Following the declaration by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that the outbreak of a new Coronavirus that began in the Chinese city of Wuhan is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, the Australian Government has announced temporary new measures including travel restrictions on all nationalities who have left or transited through mainland China on or after 1 February 2020. The new measures mean that Australia will deny travel to or entry into Australia to anyone who has left or transited mainland China from 1 February 2020, with the exception of:
- Australian citizens
- Australian permanent residents
- Immediate family members of Australian citizens and Australian permanent residents including spouses, minor dependents and legal guardians; and
- Airline and maritime crew, where appropriate precautionary measures have been taken
The travel restriction, implemented as a public health precaution, will apply to those seeking to enter Australia as well as those seeking transit through Australia on route to a third country. The travel restriction only applies to anyone who has left or transited mainland China from 1 February 2020. It does not apply to anyone who has travelled to or transited the special administrative regions of Hong Kong or Macau. The new measures are temporary. The Australian Government will review these measures in 14 days. As a further precaution to the spread of the new Coronavirus, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has raised the level of travel advice for mainland China to ‘Do not Travel’.
Any temporary visa holder who has left or transited mainland China on or after 1 February 2020 will be unable to travel to Australia until further notice. We understand that any temporary visa holder in this situation seeking to travel to Australia may have their visa cancelled. However, arrangements will be made to reinstate visas as appropriate following the lifting of these enhanced border control measures.
We recommend that clients assess whether staff have left or transited mainland China on or after 1 February 2020 before making travel arrangements. This measure is likely to disrupt some individuals seeking to travel to Australia to take up assignments holding subclass 400 (Temporary Work) or subclass 482 (Temporary Skills Shortage) visas and travel arrangements would need to be postponed for these individuals. In addition, if any existing temporary visa holders may have travelled to or through China, for example due to the Chinese New Year celebrations, they would also be unable to return to their assignments at this time.
There have been no announcements as to the impact of visa processing of Australian visas however employers should plan for delays in processing and potential requests for further information. Student visa holders are subject to these measures and will be unable to return to Australia. We understand educational institutions are providing guidance to new and returning students and student visa holders should contact their educational institution
Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents, and their immediate family, who have left or transited mainland China on or after 1 February 2020, will still be able to travel to and enter Australia. However, the Australian Government have announced that those individuals will be required to self-isolate for 14 days from the time they left mainland China.