Australia – COVID-19 Travel Restrictions and Self-Quarantine Requirements
Australia – COVID-19 Travel Restrictions and Self-Quara
Effective 15 March 2020, the Australian government has imposed a self-quarantine requirement for all travellers entering Australia. The self-quarantine applies to Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and foreign nationals, and will require all travellers to self-quarantine in a home or hotel for 14 days. Furthermore, anyone seeking to enter Australia should not transit through mainland China, Iran, South Korea or Italy at the current time.
Effective 15 March 2020, the Australian government has imposed a self-quarantine requirement for all travellers entering Australia. The self-quarantine applies to Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and foreign nationals, and will require all travellers to self-quarantine in a home or hotel for 14 days.1
All travellers entering Australia through an international airport will be directed for health screening at the airport.
Earlier, Australia’s government announced on 11 March that foreign nationals (excluding permanent residents of Australia) who have been in mainland China, Iran, South Korea or Italy will not be allowed to enter Australia until 14 days after they have left or transited through mainland China, Iran, South Korea or Italy.
These restrictions are temporary and reviewed regularly by the Australian government.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Anyone seeking to enter Australia should not transit through mainland China, Iran, South Korea or Italy at the current time. Those currently in these countries and their employers will need to monitor the situation to determine when the restrictions are to be lifted.
Limited exemptions apply, on a case-by-case basis, which currently includes Year 11 and 12 students in China (apart from those from Hubei Province), to enable them to complete the crucial final years of secondary schooling.
These new travel restrictions are aimed at controlling the circulation of COVID-19 and preventing its spread in Australia. They will have considerable impact on cross-border business travelers and globally-mobile employees between Australia and these countries – or transiting through these countries on their way back to Australia – and could delay, if not prevent, cross-border transfers of such employees and their family members who are covered under the scope of these new rules. Employees and their families who are impacted by the new rules may experience some anxiety and inconvenience.
Australian Citizens, Permanent Residents, and Family Members
Australian citizens, permanent residents, and their immediate family members will be allowed to enter Australia but will need to self-isolate for 14 days if they have visited any of the countries listed above. Immediate family members who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents must contact the Department of Home Affairs before attempting to enter Australia. Immediate family members would include spouses, minor dependents and legal guardians of Australian citizens or permanent residents.
Impact on Visa Holders outside Australia
Visa holders who have been granted visas but have not yet entered Australia may be impacted if their visa condition requires them to enter Australia on or before the period of the travel restriction. Those visa holders who cannot enter by the requisite date will be required to make a new visa application.
This may also impact current visa holders who are outside Australia and may be unable to return prior to the expiry of their current visa.
Australian employers of impacted visa holders attempting to enter Australia should consider delaying the commencement of visa holder’s work in Australia or consider whether offshore work arrangements are possible, particularly in consideration of the updated 14 day self-quarantine arrangements for new arrivals.
Impact on Visa Holders inside Australia
The KPMG International member firm in Australia is encouraging employers looking to change their operational arrangements in a way that may impact the nature, hours or method of work for any sponsored visa holders to contact KPMG-Australia professionals (see the Contact Us section below) for advice on how the proposed arrangements may impact visa holders and employer compliance under the migration legislation. We are also assisting businesses to connect with the Australian government on a case-by-case basis as required.
Current visa holders in Australia who are approaching visa expiry must carefully consider options to depart Australia prior to visa expiry, or look to make a new visa application if they wish to remain in Australia while the travel restriction remains in place. In some cases, it may be necessary for temporary visa holders to seek a waiver of a ‘No Further Stay’ condition on their visa.
The Department of Home Affairs has also published a fact sheet2 for impacted visa holders and applications.
Current visa holders looking to depart Australia in the near future are encouraged to check any travel restrictions that may be in place for their next destination country, prior to making travel arrangements.
Other Matters to Consider
Maintaining the safety of your people is a priority. Once that is secured, from an employee mobility perspective, thoughts need to turn to managing costs to protect the business. Part of this will involve planning for and addressing the implications for the business and the individuals impacted across:
- Personal tax, and employer reporting and withholding obligations;
- Corporate tax; and
- Employment law.
1 See the 15 March announcement – as well as earlier announcements concerning other travel restrictions – see the website for Australia’s Department of Home Affairs.
2 See the Department of Home Affairs 28 February 2020 fact sheet, “Novel Coronavirus – Information for all affected visa holders and applicants.”
* Please note the KPMG International member firm in the United States does not provide immigration or labour law services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.
The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Australia.
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