Greg Hunt, the health minister, has revoked an automatic travel exemption that previously enabled Australians who usually live abroad to go to their country of residency without requiring permission to leave Australia.
Expats currently residing in Australia will be required to apply for a Travel Exemption for either Critical Work or Compassionate or Compelling grounds to leave the country as of 11 August 2021.
What Is the Justification for Removing Travel Exemptions for Australians Normally Residing Abroad?
The government claims that the initial automatic exemption was intended to enable overseas residents to depart Australia just once rather than visit and return.
According to the Explanatory Statement attached to the government’s Biosecurity Determination, the exemption was not designed to allow frequent movement between countries. As repatriation flights begin, it will be essential to control the number of people departing Australia to return soon to prioritize travel and quarantine availability for those who have been stuck abroad for an extended period.
The New Amendment’s Advantages
The change would relieve strain on Australia’s quarantine capacity, decrease the dangers presented by COVID-19 to the Australian population, and aid in the return of vulnerable Australians home.
Obtaining a Travel Exemption Following the Amendment
Violations of the order may result in up to five years in prison and a $66,000 fine. The legality of the move has been called into doubt by the media. The health minister may make emergency decisions under the Biosecurity Act, comparable to the restrictions on travel to and from India earlier this year.
Australians who normally reside abroad may seek to leave the country, but the government has allegedly indicated that travel waivers would be given only in ‘exceptional circumstances.’
The application procedure for a Travel Exemption necessitates submitting documentation to substantiate a person’s grounds for travel.
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