Coronavirus is the trending topic worldwide now. It is a new family of viruses that have emerged recently which causes illness ranging from common cold, cough, fever, breathing difficulties to pneumonia, kidney failure and even death.
According to WHO, there are over 76,202 confirmed cases worldwide and the death toll has reached over 2,247 as of 21st February 2020. The number of new confirmed cases has been declining as countries around the world have been fighting against this virus. Australia is one of the 72 countries that have enforced travel restrictions to ensure the health and safety of the Australian community which has sadly disrupted so many lives especially students’ and business’ (tourism).
As a registered international education consultant, we have received messages regarding the changes of visa condition because of the virus. So, we have put together all the important information about restrictions and changes regarding the visa and travel in this article which, hopefully, will answer all your questions.
If you are an international student in Australia, a visa holder and planning to apply for a visa, or if you are on a holiday abroad at the moment and planning to return to Australia via China, there are several restrictions that have been announced by the Australian government that you should be aware of.
Effective as of February 01, 2020, all the travellers who are arriving from any part of mainland China are subject to increased border security and measures. This restriction has been extended by the federal government of Australia until February 29, 2020, Saturday.
If you have left or have transited mainland China from February 1, you will be denied entry into Australia. There are exceptions though, to Australian citizens, permanent residents, and immediate family members of Australian citizens and permanent residents including spouses, minor dependants and legal guardians, according to home affairs Australia.
These apply to those who are entering Australia as well as people who are transiting through Australia en route to another country.
Australian Immigration has warned those who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents or an immediate family member to not make an attempt to travel to Australia until the restrictions are lifted.
If you try to travel, your airline is most likely going to cancel your flight. Let’s say if you do travel to Australia via mainland China from February 1, your visa will be cancelled, and you will be placed in a place of detention for a quarantine period.
Students who are unable to return to Australia to continue their studies, because of the temporary restrictions, should contact their education providers and arrange for a deferment of the course.
Students who will need more time to complete their courses cannot apply for a student extension visa, they will need to apply for a new student visa with a new Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) through their provider.
If your visa is about to expire and you can’t return to China, you can apply for a new visa before your current visa expires. You will be given a bridging visa until the decision is made on your visa.
If you are a Chinese national and if you want to apply for an Australian visa, since the Australian Visa Application Centres (AVAC) are currently temporarily closed in China, you will have to lodge your visa online.
Temporary Visa Holders
Visas will be cancelled of the temporary visa holders who can’t get into Australia because of these restrictions. The immigration will decide to restore the visas once the restrictions are lifted.
Australian Citizens, Permanent Residents and Their Immediate Family Members
Australian citizens, permanent residents, and their immediate family members can enter Australia but if they have been in mainland China, they will need to isolate themselves for 14 days from the time they left mainland China.
These are just temporary restrictions and it will be lifted as soon as the situation gets better and there is no threat of spreading virus. If you have any further questions regarding the visa application and status under these conditions, you can message us at Bluestone Education and Migration on Facebook or call us at (03) 8385 9195.
The virus spreads if you are in close contact with an infectious person, if you are in contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze or touching objects or surfaces like door handles or tables that have cough or sneeze droplets from an infected person.
The best way to prevent this virus is to wash your hands with soap and water or sanitize your hands after you have been in a public place. Use a tissue to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, avoid contact with others in a public place.
Symptoms include fever, flu-like symptoms, short of breath. If you see any symptoms, go see your doctor as soon as possible.