The Government has released new statistics, which reveal the impact of the pandemic on arrivals to Australia. Here are our insights.
Sharp Reduction in Arrivals to Australia
As to be expected under an international travel ban, Government statistics show there was a 97% decrease in arrivals to Australia over the seven days between 27 April 2020 and 3 May 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
These statistics were provided by the Australian Border Force Commissioner in response to questions taken on notice by the Parliamentary Select Committee on COVID-19. The figures show that while it is still possible to come to Australia, the impact of the Government’s international travel ban has been dramatic.
Exemptions for Travel to Australia
In response to the Committee, the Border Force Commissioner also provided statistics on the number and types of exemptions being granted.
The statistics show that most exemptions for entering Australia were for transits, followed by compassionate cases, protection visa holders, and applicants with critical skills.
While exemption approval figures appear to be quite positive, this is in contrast to anecdotal evidence in recent media reports where people have received refusals after multiple attempts at applying for travel exemptions. The Government did not provide any context or further data for the refusal numbers.
Exemptions for Travel From Australia
Currently, Australian Permanent Residents and Citizens must apply for an exemption to travel outbound from Australia. This requires a well documented case with supporting evidence for the reasons for travel.
The below statistics from the Border Force Commissioner show the number and type of exemptions granted for outbound travel in the specified period.
Most outbound travel discretions were granted on the basis of compassionate or humanitarian grounds, followed by urgent and unavoidable personal business and critical industries and business.
In relation to Outbound Exemptions, the Government did provide further context that the number of refusals were due to insufficient supporting evidence.
At this time, many visa holders may have questions about how the COVID-19 pandemic may impact their visa arrangements and it can help to seek professional migration advice.
It is still possible to apply for an Australian visa from either overseas or within Australia. The Government is still accepting visa applications, however significant delays are being experienced across the migration program.