What is the change? The Australian government has updated its coronavirus policy and issued new travel advice for Australians.

What does the change mean? The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has raised its travel advice for China to “level 4 – do not travel.” With the exception of citizens, permanent residents, and immediate family members of Australian citizens and permanent residents including spouses, minor dependents and legal guardians, foreign nationals who are in mainland China are barred from entering Australia until 14 days after they have left or transited through China. All those returning to Australia who have travelled in Hubei Province during the last 14 days or have left or transited through mainland China since Feb. 1 must isolate themselves for 14 days.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate. The change took effect Feb. 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: All visa holders currently/recently in China are potentially affected.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals in China planning travel to Australia and their employers. Australians and permanent residents returning from China.
  • Business impact: Companies employing foreign workers from China may experience delays and disruptions related to employee mobility and availability.
  • Next steps: Employers are encouraged to check the Department of Health website for updates:

Background: The coronavirus causes flu-like symptoms and double pneumonia. Thousands of people in China have been infected and 12 travel-related cases in Australia have been confirmed. The World Health Organization designated the outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern, and many countries have recently implemented travel restrictions and issued warnings in response to the spread of the coronavirus.

Analysis & Comments: The government’s ban on travel from mainland China, as well as its quarantine policy, indicate that it is taking serious steps to contain the spread of the virus. Those planning travel between Australia and China ought to reconsider their plans amid growing concern about the virus and new travel restrictions. Employers and visa applicants in both China and Australia can expect significant delays. The response to the coronavirus is evolving rapidly, and Deloitte will alert clients to additional changes or restrictions as information becomes available.

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