Permanent residents and citizens of Australia that are currently overseas are being urged to come home before the coronavirus pandemic escalates.  

The Australian Government has issued new advice, recommending all permanent residents and citizens of Australia that are overseas to return home as soon as possible. The Government Website, Smart Traveller, is also urging all to reassess the need to travel overseas in the coming months.  Many countries are introducing entry or movement restriction that could impact any overseas travel that you may have planned.  

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) states that, “Overseas travel has become more complex and unpredictable.”  

With every passing day, more countries are being forced to close their borders, due to the rapid spread of coronavirus. Canada has already closed its borders to all foreign nationals, except US citizens and permanent residents. On Monday, the European Union approved a 30-day ban for all non-essential travel within 26 European countries, which also includes shutting their external borders to most non-residents 

Below is a list of the nations that have recently introduced travel restrictions:  

  • The European Union  
  • United States  
  • Austria  
  • Canada  
  • Cambodia  
  • Cape Verde  
  • China  
  • Columbia  
  • Croatia  
  • Czech Republic  
  • Germany  
  • Egypt  
  • Greece  
  • Haiti  
  • Hong Kong  
  • Denmark  
  • Indonesia  
  • Japan  
  • Italy  
  • India  
  • Jordan  
  • New Zealand 
  • Norway  
  • Peru  
  • Philippines  
  • Morocco  
  • Macau  
  • Hungary  
  • Russia 
  • Saudi Arabia  
  • South Korea  
  • Spain  
  • Singapore  
  • Thailand  
  • Sri Lanka  
  • Turkey  
  • Ukraine  
  • Vietnam  
  • Malaysia 

Given the high number of nations that have put in place travel restrictions, it can be argued that your travel plans may be disrupted, you may be placed in quarantine, or you may even be denied entry to some countries if you choose to travel overseas. Anyone that is coming into Australia, after travelling overseas, is also expected to self-isolate for 14-days. 

‘We are upgrading the travel ban on Australians to level 4 for the entire world. That is the first time that has ever happened in Australia’s history. The travel advice to every Australian is do not travel abroad. Do not go overseas.’ – Prime Minister, Mr Scott Morrison

According to the Smart Traveller website, a level 4 travel ban means that, “if you get into trouble, the Australian Government may be unable to help. In most cases, our ability to provide consular assistance in these destinations is extremely limited.” 

As of this morning, there have been 560 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia. The majority of cases in Australia have been imported from overseas.  

The DFAT has advised permanent residents and citizens of Australia to stay in Australia, as there may be a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus from overseas. For example, you may come into contact with more people than usual, through long-haul flights, crowded airports and tourist destinations.  

International flights are being cancelled:  

 Qantas has signalled that they will be closing at least 90% of their international flights and approximately 60% of domestic flights by the end of March. In a recent statement, the airline claimed that these changes will be implemented, due to the significant decline in travel demand. Fortunately, Australia’s airlines will be given $715 million federal government lifeline to lessen the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Will my travel insurance cover my costs?  

Unfortunately, the majority of policies for travel insurance do not cover you if there is a ‘do not travel’ recommendation put in place by your home country. Check your terms and conditions, or give your provider a call to find out whether you are covered.  

What if I’m already overseas?  

The DFAT advises anyone who is currently overseas and wishes to return to Australia, to do so as soon as possible by commercial means. Once you are in Australia, you are required to self-isolate for 14 days. This ruling applies to all types of travellers, including Australian citizens and permanent residents.  

So far, there is no way to know how long these regulations and restrictions will last for. However, Mr Morrison has advised that the coronavirus pandemic could last for at least six months.  

“Whatever we do, we’ve got to do for at least six months,” Mr Morrison said. 

Can I travel domestically?  

According to health experts, domestic air travel is considered low risk and will not be subject to any restrictions for now. However, the Australian government is advising permanent residents and citizens of Australia to avoid remote communities and ‘sensitive’ parts of the country, for the purpose of safeguarding vulnerable communities that may have limited access to health care and support resources. 

If you need assistance or advice with your visa application, Results Migration are the best in the field, with a team of experienced Immigration Lawyers and Registered Migration Agents that are available to guide you through this complex area of law. Call Results Migration on 1800 808 717 or email us on [email protected] and book your free consultation today!