The Australian Border Force has broadened the travel exemptions available for foreign workers with critical skills or who are required to work in critical sectors in Australia. These changes were announced today, and are effective 28 July 2020.
Until now, travel exemptions for non-citizens were largely limited to individuals assisting in the COVID-19 response. However, the announcement today means that business travel is possible where it is in the national interest, fills critical skills shortages, or supports critical sectors.
Please see below some key information about the new business travel exemptions:
Foreign nationals with critical skills will now be able to apply for an exemption to travel to Australia despite the border closure. “Critical skills” are those required to maintain the supply of essential goods and services in Australia.
Examples of critical skills under this category are:
- medical technology
- critical infrastructure
- engineering and mining
- supply chain logistics
- agricultural technology
- food production
- maritime industry
Travel exemptions are also available to foreign nationals who are required to deliver services in sectors critical to Australia’s economic recovery, where no Australian worker is available to undertake the work.
Examples given in this category include:
- financial technology
- large scale manufacturing
- film and television production
- emerging technology
Furthermore, a foreign national who whose entry would otherwise be in Australia’s national interest, supported by the Australian Government or a state or territory government authority, can apply for a travel exemption.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, travellers arriving in Australia will be subject to mandatory quarantine for 14 days at a designated facility, such as a hotel, in their port of arrival.
In some States and Territories, travellers are required to pay for the costs of their quarantine. To find out more about quarantine requirements, contact the relevant state or territory government health department.
Travel Exemption Process
A travel exemption can be applied for online, by the individual or by the business on behalf of an employee or group of employees. If the travel exemption is approved, the individual must have a valid visa to travel to Australia.
Processing times for travel exemptions is approximately 4 weeks, even where travel is urgent.
It is important to note that travel exemption requests are discretionary assessed on their merits, therefore the request should outline clearly why the Australian Border Force Commissioner should apply discretion and grant the exemption. An applicant needs to demonstrate how they meet one of the critical skills/critical sector grounds for exemption and that their travel is critical at this time. Exemption requests must be supported by documentary evidence.
Need more information?
We can assist with providing advice and managing your travel request and visa application under these business travel exemptions.
Please contact your immigration partner directly to discuss whether you benefit from these changes, or reach our to us on firstname.lastname@example.org or (02) 8896 6056 if you need further advice or assistance.