We recently received an update from the Migration Institute of Australia that the Department has provided further information on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on 2020-21 Migration Program Planning and Delivery.
We have selected the key Q&A’s from their fact sheet as some light reading for you:
What impact has COVID-19 had on the delivery of the Migration Program?
Migration continues to make substantial contribution to Australia’s economic prosperity, national wellbeing and social cohesion. Australia’s migration settings are designed to be flexible and respond to changing circumstances, such as COVID-19. The ongoing impact of the pandemic worldwide, both medically, socially and economically and will have a significant influence on the shape of Australia’s Migration Program going forward. Therefore, Migration policies must be carefully calibrated to provide employment opportunities for Australians, support critical industries and position Australia’s economic recovery.
What is the Government doing to ensure the visa system supports COVID-19 response and economic recovery?
Protecting the health of Australians during the global pandemic is the Australian Government’s priority. Borders will only re-open at a time and in a manner that is safe, guided by health advice and with secure border arrangements in place.
When will the Government announce the size and the composition for the 2020-21 Migration Program?
Until otherwise advised, the existing 2019-20 Migration Program settings will continue to remain in place. This means the 2020-21 planning ceiling will be retained at 160,000, the level set for the 2019-20 Migration Program. The Department plans to proceed with engagement with State and Territory governments regarding their nomination allocations for the 2020-21 Migration Program.
Are migrants allowed entry to Australia during this time?
Travellers who have a compassionate or compelling reason to travel to Australia will need to have an exemption from the Australian Border Force Commissioner. Each case is unique and is considered individually based on the information provided in the application and supporting evidence must be provided. Applications for exemptions must be made at least 48 hours prior to any planned travel. Temporary visa holders currently outside Australia will still need to apply for an exemption to travel to Australia. Those without a valid visa will not be considered for a travel exemption.
The Prime Minister announced, as of 9:00PM tonight only Australian citizens, permanent residents, New Zealand citizens who are normally resident in Australia and immediate family member of an Australian citizen and permanent residents will be permitted to travel to Australia. An immediate family member is defined as a spouse, dependent or legal guardian.
Temporary visa holders will not be able to enter until after the travel restrictions have been lifted. Although there is no timeline put on these restrictions, it is important to note that these are temporary measures.,
If any employee is currently in Australia and on a visa then they are not impacted by these travel restrictions and we would advise them to stay put in Australia for the meantime.
Status of current applications
Our team are continuing to work towards, preparing and lodging all applications, with priority placed on those who are onshore with important deadlines. For applicants who are currently offshore, progress will still be made on applications as usual in anticipation of current and any potential future travel bans being lifted to ensure that applicants can enter Australia as soon as possible.
Self Isolation + Working in Australia
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 a pandemic and it is advised that all individuals reconsider their need for overseas travel outside of Australia at this time.
If you have planned to travel to Australia, you are currently still able to come; however the Australian Government has imposed a strict self isolation period of 14 days from date of arrival for any person entering Australia.
During this 14 day self isolation period, you can work remotely from home, and then if you are not showing any symptoms of illness then you can return to work. Please note that this is in line with current advice from the Medical Officer of the Commonwealth (MOC) and may change over time.
Student visa holders
As confirmed by the Department of Home Affairs, International students currently employed at the major supermarkets will be able to extend their working hours to help meet high demand for essential items because of the coronavirus. Ordinarily international students are subject to a maximum 40 hours a fortnight during semester sessions.
For further information on COVID-19 and the Australian Border, the Department of Home Affairs have provided the following link to their site: https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/news-media/current-alerts/novel-coronavirus
For information on travel advice as provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the link is as follows:
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact our head office on 02 8015 2183