The Department of Home Affairs has streamlined the application process for travel ban exemption requests and provided further clarity regarding what are considered critical skills.

Key Points:

  • The new COVID-19 travel exemption portal supports streamlined business processes and allows applicants to check on the status of their application and prioritization by travel date.
  • Individuals and companies may now apply for a travel exemption prior to applying for or obtaining a visa. All travel exemptions requests should be lodged at least four weeks, but not more than three months, before planned travel.
  • Further clarity has been provided regarding what are considered critical skills, and travel exemption requests may be granted if an applicant is a non-citizen:
  • Traveling at the invitation of the Australian Government or a state or territory government authority to assist in the COVID-19 response.
  • Providing critical or specialist medical services, including air ambulance, medical evacuations and delivering critical medical supplies.
  • Providing critical skills required to maintain the supply of essential goods and services (such as in medical technology, critical infrastructure, telecommunications, engineering and mining, supply chain logistics, agricultural technology, food production, and the maritime industry). This list is not exhaustive.
  • Delivering services in sectors critical to Australia’s economic recovery (such as financial technology, large-scale manufacturing, film and television production and emerging technology), where no Australian worker is available.
  • Whose entry would otherwise be in Australia’s national interest, supported by the Australian Government or a state or territory government authority.

Analysis & Comments: Businesses are advised to consult with Deloitte regarding whether an individual has skills that would be considered critical for the purpose of obtaining a travel exemption approval or a visa and travel exemption approval to enter Australia. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop, and Deloitte will provide additional updates as information becomes available. Please check Deloitte’s COVID-19 Digital Map, available here, for information on travel restrictions and immigration changes in other countries.

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