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COVID-19 Update: Petition Over Definition of Travel Exemption’s Immediate Family Member

COVID-19 Update: Petition Over Definition of Travel Exemption’s Immediate Family Member

Travel Exemption Australia: Petition for Parents As Immediate Family Members

Australian Government only allows the immediate family members of Australian citizens or Permanent Residents to travel to Australia. They would need to apply for the travel exemption first. However, the definition of the immediate family member becomes the centre of attention as the description does not include parents (mothers or fathers) and siblings. 

Hence, many Australian Permanent Residents put up a petition request to include parents as the definition of immediate family members. With the petition, Australian Permanent Residents hope their parents or siblings can be granted travel exemption to visit Australia.

Australia Travel Exemption And Immediate Family Member

Back in March 2020, all the regions in Australia got into a lock-down. All sectors got impacted by this situation. People are worried about going out, businesses are closed, people got stood down and some people need to postpone their visa plans. However, you must have your own reasons for travelling to Australia and you need to get your visa granted as soon as possible. 

The Australian government has travel restrictions in place and travel exemptions are granted for some people who meet the criteria. Travel exemption will only be given to an Australian citizen, permanent resident, immediate family member of a citizen or a PR, or you have to have strong and compelling reasons why you should travel to Australia. Then came a question about who is considered an immediate family member? The immediate family member includes a de facto partner, a spouse, a dependent child or a guardian. Parents and siblings are not included. Many cases showing how this situation brings an impact on the parents and their children. Angus and Elizabeth are the victims of this. 

Travel Exemption Australia

Story From Scottish Parents Who Can’t Come To Australia Due To Exclusion From Travel Exemption

Recently, the Scottish parents, Angus and Elizabeth McNulty have sold their home and spent nearly $40,000 to get a visa. They were granted a five-year 870 visa in February and had booked for a flight for May, but COVID-19 buried their dream. Even though they already hold a visa to enter Australia, the definition of “immediate family” under the travel exemption rule does not fit for their conditions. Mr McNulty said the situation has been mentally damaging for him and his wife. He emphasized that they do not come to Australia to burden the country, but all that they want is spending their years with their daughter in Perth. For now, the couple only hopes to get a refund for the visa cost or the Australian Government would include parents to the definition of the immediate family.

Petition Over Immediate Family Member’s Definition

1. More than 16.000 people signed a petition tabled in parliament. 

The frustration over the definition of immediate family in travel exemption resulted in 16,166 people signing a petition tabled in parliament per 18th of November 2020. Due to the situation, WA Liberal MP Celia Hammond stated her office had been inundated with requests for help. She also considers the problem from the mental health impact point of view, which might bring Australian permanent residence or citizens into a mental breakdown because they could not meet their parents. 

2. Around 5000 people sign a petition over immediate family members started by Mr Harjot Singh

In October 2020, 5000 people also signed a petition which was started by Indians, one of them was Harjot Singh. Mr Singh wanted to bring his father to Australia and live with him as his father is sick and he lives alone after Mr Singh’s mother passed away. Mr Singh has applied for ABF several times for an exemption, but it was refused. Australian Government claimed that his father’s condition is not a compelling reason to be given a travel exemption because his father is not considered to be an immediate family member. Mr Singh also shared his point of view that considering a girlfriend as an immediate family member, but not a parent is weird.

3. More than 2000 people joining a Facebook Group sharing similar stories regarding travel exemption for parents

The frustration also resulted in a Facebook group that has attracted more than 2000 members sharing similar stories. Mandy Pindal, a Melbourne permanent resident behind the Facebook group, stated she created the Facebook group after her father was denied entry to Australia and she is worried as her father lives in constant fear that he would not be able to see his kids.

4. Australian Government not to change immediate family members definition

Different from the society’s demands, an Australian Border Force Spokesman said the Government was not considering changing the definition of the immediate family to include parents at this time. It is due to the categories of people exempt from Australia’s travel restrictions are limited so as to manage the public health risk itself. Furthermore, the Australian Government also believes that the decision to grant travel exemption must be balanced against the intention of imposing travel restrictions and health risk posed to the Australian community. 

Immediate Family Member

Parents Will Be Hard To Travel To Australia During This Time

Since a parent is not included in the definition of immediate family member, it might be difficult for a parent to visit their children in Australia during COVID-19 Pandemic. Hence, a visa application for parents might be difficult at the time. Even holding a parent visa does not allow the parent to enter Australia because the parent is not considered as an immediate family member. After all, every rule must have pros and cons as people have their own point of view and opinion. The regulations must be very burdensome for children who miss their parents or vice versa. However, looking at the fact that older people are more susceptible to be exposed to COVID-19 virus, the Australian Government must think carefully to allow parents or older people to travel to Australia.

Would This Stop You From Applying For A Parent Visa?

Of course not! Even though many discussions have been brought up for this topic, it doesn’t mean you can’t apply for a parent visa. You may check your eligibility if you would like to get the ball rolling as soon as possible. Please be advised that parent visa application processing time might be longer due to COVID 19. Rather than wasting your time or waiting for the conditions to get better, isn’t it better to start earlier? If you start the process earlier, once the regulation changes or the borders are opened for all international flights, you will be ready to put your name onboard. Sounds good right?

ONE derland Consulting certainly understands your disappointment and how much you miss your children or vice versa. Even in this situation, we also understand that you want to give direct support and a warm hug to your beloved child. ONE derland Consulting is here to help and support you during COVID-19 Pandemic. We would be delighted to help you to find the best as well as the most suitable pathway for you to meet your children and settle in Australia.

Take Your Phone And Give Us A Call!

We understand that applying for a visa to Australia is certainly very complex due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Our visa specialists at ONEderland Consulting will help you assess your visa options. We have a 98% success rate and one of the most recommended migration agencies in Australia. Read our 4.9* score customer reviews.

We specialise in complex visa cases. As registered Australian migration agents with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA), we are regulated in our professional practice and bound by the profession’s Code of Conduct issued by the Migration Agents Registration Authority.

Take the first leap and get in touch with us. Our migration agents are professional, honest and our team members are able to speak various languages such as Mandarin/ Chinese, Bahasa Indonesia, Arabic, Japanese, Polish, German and Russian. Contact us through email at [email