Hundreds of temporary visa refusals due to COVID-19
Ever since the borders were closed on 20 March due to COVID-19, many temporary visa holders are unable to return to Australia. The Acting Immigration Minister, Alan Tudge, says that the borders will be open for citizens and permanent visa holders only. Until now, it is reported that hundreds of skilled workers and international students are stranded overseas waiting to come home.
Due to this issue, many couples are separated from each other, and many parents are unable to be with their children. More than 12.000 people signed a petition urging the federal parliament to grant their return permit.
One of the stranded couples that have been separated due to this condition is Keila Carvalho, a Brazil origin university student, who intended to come back to her home country for no more than two weeks. She has now still been in Brazil, unable to return to her studies and separated from her partner Tom Bowen, who is living in Sydney, for approximately two months.
Carvalho has applied for an exemption on compassionate grounds as much as six times, and all six have been denied.
“I didn’t imagine that they would close the borders and split up partners in this way,” she said.
Another temporary visa holder who has been rejected to return to Australia is an Indian father, Tushar Sen. Mr Sen has applied four times for an exemption and got rejected every single time.
“I have been rejected four times for an exemption, but I will continue to apply and email the ministers. Can’t believe, I have to fight for something that I have rightfully paid for and should be entitled to,” says Mr Sen.
However, there are several exemption scenarios in which temporary visa holders may enter the borders
Although the travel ban is applied to other than citizens and permanent resident visa holders, there are still several scenarios where The Department of Home Affairs can grant the border cross permit.
There have been as much as 1,170 approved applications and 220 rejected applications so far according to Commissioner Michael Outram on May 5th.
This decision was weighed individually by their urges, compelling reasons, and other grounds of critical skills for medical staff, business leaders, diplomatic, medevac patients and transits. It is prior to protecting the Australian community against the COVID-19.
Here are some scenarios where exemptions from the travel ban may apply:
- Foreign nationals travelling at the invitation of the Australian Commonwealth Government for the purpose of assisting in the COVID-19 response or whose entry would be in the national interest.
- Critical medical services, including air ambulance and delivery of supplies, that regularly arrive into Australia from international ports.
- People with critical skills (for example, medical specialists, engineers, marine pilots and crews) by exception.
- Diplomats accredited to Australia and currently resident in Australia and their immediate family.
- Case-by-case exceptions for humanitarian or compassionate reasons.
We understand that no one wants to be separated from their loved ones
Even though there has been a consideration for International student travel exemptions being considered by July, no one is sure yet when the borders will actually reopen. Being separated from home without any certainties when they can reunite, is a very difficult task for everyone.
However, there is still always a chance for the stranded temporary visa holder to get their return permit application granted and reunite with their family and loved ones.
If you’d like to discuss your Australian visa options, please click here to make an appointment with our migration agent or contact us via email at [email protected] or by telephone: Perth (08) 9477 5831, Sydney (02) 9188 2065 & Melbourne (03) 9088 4114.