Tourist Visas And The Coronavirus
With many flights out of Australia canceled and even fewer places you can fly to, those already in Australia on visitor visas are wondering what they can do. Let us go through some essential points.
In general, those in Australia on visitor visas are not meant to stay in Australia longer than 12 consecutive months. We have covered this before but now circumstances really are exceptional.
Many people will have a longer-term visa, but some of them allow three months each visit and others for a longer duration. Given that flying out of Australia and then back in for temporary visa holders is now banned, it is now no longer possible to keep extending your visit to Australia by this technique. You will need to apply for a new Tourist 600 visa before the 3,6 or 12 month period is going to expire.
Here are a few examples;
Jim came to Australia on a 600 visitor visa, which indicated he was allowed to stay here for only three months on each arrival. The visa itself is valid for three years. In the past, he has gone to New Zealand and back, twice, to extend his stay for another three months. Now with the travel bans, that is not possible to do. Before Jim’s three months comes up and his visa will expire, he can apply for a new 600 Visitor visa and ask for a visa that will last a further nine months.
Jim is only asking for another nine months because, in total, that will take him to a consecutive 12 months in Australia.
Amreen has been in Australia for nearly 12 months already on a long term tourist visa. She wants to go back home, but now all flights have been canceled to India from Australia. In addition to this, India has now stopped all international flights into their country. Amreen’s visa is going to expire next week.
Amreen can apply for another tourist visa for a further 12 months. There are exceptional circumstances she can claim to remain in Australia on a tourist visa for more than 12 consecutive months.
Denis has a long term tourist visa valid for three years. It has Condition 8558 imposed. This condition only allows no more than 12 months in any 18 months of stay in Australia. Denis has already stayed here for ten months, but now his ticket home has been canceled. There are not flights Denis can find to his home country, and other countries will not let him in either.
Denis needs to apply for another long term visa as soon as he can and claim the exceptional circumstances rule. He should not just remain in Australia and breach Condition 8558. If he does this, it may jeopardise the chance of another visa grant, plus he could have his current visa canceled.
Jenny is in Australia on a 6-month tourist visa with the condition 8503 imposed. All of a sudden her country has closed its borders, even to its own nationals and she can’t get home.
Jenny needs to apply for a waiver of the Condition 8503 as soon as possible. Without that waiver, she is very limited in what type of visa she could apply for while she remains in Australia. The DOHA is likely to consider a waiver request favorably given Jenny’s current circumstance.
Working Holiday Visa Holders (417 and 462)
Usually, WH visa holders cannot apply for a tourist visa onshore due to a rule that forces you to have exceptional circumstances to do so. Basically, they don’t want you hanging around in Australia longer than you should. However, given the current exceptional times where you are unable to return to your country of citizenship or even obtain any flight out of Australia, a tourist visa application is a reasonable option to consider.
Whatever happens, we will not be closing and will be here to help? Give us a call to book a consultation to speak one of our highly experienced migration specialists. Call +61 2 8054 2537, 0434 890 199 or book online. We are all set up in our various home offices to consult over the telephone and Skype via booked appointments. We are ready for the long haul and no virus is going to stop us from being able to work.