What the ANZ Travel Bubble Means to Migrants in Australia
New Zealand has agreed to open its borders to quarantine-free travel for people coming from Australia starting from 19 April 2021. Last month, Australia removed New Zealand from its travel restrictions.
People in both countries are excited about being able to cross the Tasman Sea once again. But what does this mean to visa holders in Australia? There are good news for them too.
Migrants who are affected by Section 48 of the Migration Act 1958 (AKA the s48 bar) are unable to apply for most visas while they are in Australia. Typically these are migrants who are in Australia on Bridging visas and had a substantive visa refused or cancelled.
Normally the solution is to simply go overseas to lodge a visa application. However, due to Covid-19 restrictions, Australia is not allowing the return of migrants who go offshore to apply for a visa.
The expected opening of the trans-Tasman travel bubble will change this. Migrants caught by the s48 Bar should be able to travel to New Zealand to lodge a visa application and then return to Australia while their application is being processed. Travel exemptions and quarantine will not be required.
Migrants who are s48 barred and hold a Bridging visa A or B can apply offshore and return to Australia as Bridging visa B holders. The BVB must be applied for and granted before going overseas. Those who do not hold a BVA or BVB may need to wait outside Australia until their application is granted.
A visa to enter New Zealand will be required unless the person holds a passport which is eligible for a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority.
Both Australia and New Zealand have said that Covid-19 outbreaks in either country can pause or suspend the travel bubble. Migrants should consider the risk of being unable to return to Australia should the travel bubble be suspended.
New Zealand will allow quarantine-free travel of anyone who has been for at least 14 days in Australia. Migrants who spend less than 14 days in NZ before returning to Australia may need to request a travel exemption, based on the Australian Department of home Affairs' website. This direction may change in the coming days.
Elan Rysher is a Registered Migration Agent and Qualified Student Counsellor. He is the main Writer for ImmiUpdates and the founder of Rysher Migration. Elan has many years of experience working in immigration, finance and health. Being a former migrant himself, Elan is passionate about helping others fulfil their Australian dream.
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