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Changes to Critical Skills and Travel Rules

03 September 2020 by News Desk

There have been changes to Australia travel exemption requirements for individuals in critical sectors or with critical skills. The Commissioner of the Australian Border Force may grant an individual exemption if you are a non-citizen:

travelling at the invitation of the Australian Government or a state or territory government authority for the purpose of assisting in the COVID-19 response

providing critical or specialist medical services, including air ambulance, medical evacuations and delivering critical medical supplies

with 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, agriculture, primary industry, food production, and the maritime industry)

delivering services in sectors critical to Australia’s economic recovery (such as financial technology, large scale manufacturing, film, media and television production and emerging technology), where no Australian worker is available

providing critical skills in religious or theology fields

sponsored by your employer to work in Australia in an occupation on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) whose entry would otherwise be in Australia’s national interest, supported by the Australian Government or a state or territory government authority.

An individual can submit a request for a travel exemption under this category or a business can submit a request on their behalf. The applications of multiple travellers within the same group/business can be linked, so that the requests are considered together.

Please request an exemption and provide appropriate evidence to support the claims. Requests may be finalised without further consideration if insufficient evidence is provided. All documents need to be officially translated into English.

An exemption should generally be applied for at least two weeks, but not more than three months, before planned travel. Urgent business travel will be considered inside this timeframe.

The request must include:

traveller details: name, DOB, visa type and number, passport number, proposed residential address and phone number in Australia

reasons for travel: why your request should be considered for Commissioner discretion/exemption

supporting statement: setting out how you meet one of the critical skills/critical sector grounds for exemption

accompanying evidence: the request should be accompanied by supporting evidence, such as a letter from a business involved in the provision of critical goods and services, Australian Government or state and territory government authority advising why your travel is critical at this time

Individuals must hold a valid visa and an exemption from the Commissioner before they travel.

Do I need to hold a visa before requesting a travel exemption?

An individual making a request under this category does not need to hold a visa at the time of applying for an exemption from Australia’s travel restrictions. If the travel exemption is approved you need to have a valid visa to travel. All requirements must be met in order to be granted a visa.

Are you thinking about living and working in Australia? Contact us today – send us your CV, fill out our ‘helpline’ form and we will provide an express eligibility assessment free of charge.


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For a range of official government information about Australia, visit https://www.Australia.gov.au

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