During the holiday closures, there have been a few updates that have occurred in the immigration space.  The team at Gilton Valeo Lawyers is here to provide updates to our clients and colleagues.

1 January 2023 – Travellers entering Australia from China, Hong Kong, and Macau

From 00:01 AEDT 5 January 2023, travellers entering Australia from China, including Hong Kong and Macau, will be required to undertake a COVID-19 test within a 48-hour period prior to the day of their scheduled departure and show evidence of a negative test.

This applies to travellers entering Australia by air from China, including Hong Kong and Macau, either on a direct flight or on a flight that has a stopover in another country before landing in Australia.

Evidence of a negative COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) or any type of Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT), which includes Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests taken within a 48-hour period prior to the day of scheduled departure will be accepted.

COVID-19 testing requirements

This information is for all travellers entering Australia by air from China, including Hong Kong and Macau, either on a direct flight or on a flight that has a stopover in another country before landing in Australia

You must provide evidence of either

  • A negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) or other Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) test taken within a 48-hour period prior to the day of your scheduled departure, or
  • A negative Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) taken by or under the supervision of an authorised person within a 48-hour period prior to the day of your scheduled departure.

This requirement applies to all travellers entering Australia, irrespective if you are visiting Australia for leisure or work, or if you are a returning Australian citizen or permanent resident.

If your flight is delayed, you will still be considered to have met the pre-departure testing requirements.  You will not need a new test.

However, if your flight is re-scheduled or cancelled, you will need to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR or other NAAT test taken no more than 48 hours before the re-scheduled flight or a RAT taken within 48 hours before the rescheduled flight.

You must also meet Australia’s other border entry requirements, including the requirement to hold a valid visa, in addition to providing evidence of your negative COVID-19 test result.

Approved COVID-19 testing evidence

You are responsible for ensuring your compliance with testing requirements before you travel to Australia.

You can find information about the approved evidence you need to provide on the Department of Health and Aged Care website.  This includes:

  • COVID-19 test requirements, including
    • acceptable tests
    • the specific evidence required
  • what to do if your test result is positive when you tested but have recovered from COVID-19.

When travelling to Australia

You should be prepared to show airline staff evidence of your negative COVID-19 test before boarding your flight to Australia.

You will also need to provide this evidence to officials on arrival in Australia when asked.

Exemptions to the COVID-19 testing requirement

All travellers entering Australia by air from China, including Hong Kong and Macau, are required to undertake a COVID-19 test within a 48-hour period prior to the day of your scheduled departure to Australia and show evidence of a negative test unless an exemption applies.

The Department of Health and Aged Care website provides information on exemptions to the testing requirement.  These exemptions include:

  • airline crew
  • children under the age of 12 on the day they are scheduled to depart
  • travellers with evidence from a medical practitioner in the last 30 days that they have a medical condition that prevents them from undertaking a COVID-19 test
  • travellers carrying evidence from  a medical practitioner of a COVID-19 infection in the last 30 days, including confirmation that they are no longer infectious or symptomatic, and the day of the first positive test result (which must be at least 7 days before the date of the medical certificate)
  • emergency medical evacuation flights and those accompanying people on these flights
  • travellers entering Australia via the sea.

Further information on exemptions to the requirement to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test prior to entering Australia can be found on the Department of Health and Aged Care website.

Entering and leaving Australia

The Department of Home Affairs and the Australian Border Force provide advice for people seeking to enter or leave Australia.

For more information see:

People who require a visa should ensure their visa is granted before travelling to Australia.  To check Australia’s visa requirements, see: Explore visa options.

The Australian Border Force provides further advice for people entering or leaving Australia by sea.

Australian citizens planning to travel overseas are encouraged to check current travel advice by visiting Smartraveller.

The Department of Health provides health advice on international travel and COVID-19.

State and territory information

Each state and territory in Australia has its own requirements that you will need to comply with.  If you are planning to travel to Australia, you should check the requirements of the state or territory you are travelling to.  Requirements could include COVID-19 testing after you arrive in Australia or vaccination requirements to visit certain venues or work in certain occupations.

For more information see State and territory information.

Australia’s vaccination program

Everyone in Australia can get a COVID-19 vaccine free of charge.  International travellers who arrive in Australia are encouraged to access Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination program.

For more information see COVID-19 vaccines.

Visa concessions and refunds

Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic period, a range of changes were made to some visa categories, including the introduction of concession periods, fee waivers and visa refunds.

For more information see COVID-19 visa information.

The link to this update and Home Affairs website follows: https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/covid19/entering-and-leaving-australia

Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program Visa condition 8547 – 6-month work limitation

On 19 January 2022, the 6-month work limitation was temporarily relaxed.  The relaxation of this condition was initially in effect until 31 December 2022, and it has now been extended until 30 June 2023.

This change allows Working Holiday Makers (WHMs) to work with any one employer for the duration of their visa without requesting permission, and any work that is carried out before 1 July 2023 will not be counted towards the 6-month limitation period.  This means that from 1 July 2023 onwards, WHMs may work for any employer for up to an additional 6 months even if they worked for that same employer before 1 July 2023.

This applies to anyone in Australia who either holds any kind of WHM visa, regardless of when they arrive or holds a Bridging visa with condition 8547 imposed.

Gilton Valeo can answer your questions about Australia’s immigration system

As experts in Australian immigration, Gilton Valeo can guide you in identifying the best immigration pathways to bring people over to start your Australian office, provide you with strategic consulting along the way, and connect you with our partners to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Check out everything we offer on our website, or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter!