With the Coronavirus fear gaining momentum with each passing day, Chinese tourists in Australia are desperately trying to extend their visas. Here is a guide from Platinum Lawyers on the visa and travel restrictions for Chinese people, international travellers and Australians.
How to Extend Your Visa in Australia if You Do Not Want to Return to China?
Many Chinese tourists are hesitant to go back home to China fearing they will get infected with the coronavirus if they do.
If you wish to remain in Australia beyond the expiry of your current Australian visa, then you need to apply for a visa extension. It’s important to submit your application for further visa before your current visa expires. When you do that, a bridging visa may be granted to you, which will make it legal for you to stay in Australia while a decision is made on your application. For more information on extending your stay, visit the Department of Home Affairs website.
Information for Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents Travelling Back to Australia from Mainland China
If you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident travelling back from mainland China, you may be required to self-isolate for 14 days from the time of your departure from China. For more information on this and other travel restrictions, click here.
Temporary Travel Ban Due to Coronavirus Threat
If you have been to mainland China from February 1, 2020 and are neither an Australian citizen or permanent resident, then do not travel to Australia at this time. If you do attempt to do so, your airline may not allow you to board the flight.
The Department of Home affairs has advised International students and other foreign travellers notto travel via China when coming to Australia. Failure to follow this advice may result in the cancellation of their visas. Australian universities have made alternative plans for Chinese students affected by the travel restrictions. Chinese students are being offered online classes or an option to defer their studies until the travel restrictions are lifted.
Australians Stuck in Mainland China
If you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident currently stuck in mainland China and want to leave, you need to call the DFAT consular emergency line.
The Chinese and Australian Governments are working together in assisting Australian citizens and permanent residents back to Australia. Over 500 Australians and permanent residents have been brought back from China to Christmas Island till date, where they will be quarantined for 14 days. Once they are medically cleared, they will be free to return to their homes in Australia.
These travel restrictions are only temporary and will be resolved once the Coronavirus threat is deemed under control and no longer a threat.