The state of the world is now at standstill. Due to the worldwide infection and affected numbers of novel Coronavirus or COVID-19, most of the countries have initiated a lockdown. Australia has started its lockdown on 30th march 2020 for one and a half months but can extend it depending on the situation then. Due to the imposing of lockdown, all two and fro flights have also been canceled. This posed a problem to the immigrants who have gotten stuck in the country or are nearing their visa expiration date. So, it would be good to consult with the best immigration lawyers if you are having the aforementioned or any other problems.
The swift change
Due to the high infection rate of the virus, there is a shortage of manpower in the visa allocation centers. The self-imposed or doctor-ordered quarantine will cause a shortage of officials to handle the proceedings. Without any assumption about the ministry policy, there are some areas that are going to get affected. The probable sectors to be hit by the stoppage of work can be listed as;
- Processing time
This is bound to be affected in this situation. The officers at the immigration department are human beings too and they can be exposed to this virus. Obviously, the processing times are going to get longer at this time. The ministry is also trying to get the job done by allotting some of the work to offshore processing centers. The officials who can work from their home or attend remotely are being allotted their duties and are already at work. However, as there is no limit in the longevity of the bridging visa, the application van will be processed in their due time. Only bridging visa E has a time limit, but as the number of Bridging Visa A, B, and C holders are the most, there is less chance of worry.
- Online applications
The online visa applications are slated to function normally. There is no human involved in this process, only the applicant and the computer of the ministry. The system is designed to detect whether your application is valid or not. If the system detects any discrepancy, it will not let you submit the application. After the application has been lodged, the system will print the acknowledgment letter. Usually, when you lodge an application, the computer issues you with a Bridging visa instantaneously. The letter is generated and sent the next day automatically. As there is no one needed to run these systems, the arrangement shall hopefully be functional.
- Expiry dates
It is still the responsibility of the holder to remember and apply for another visa beforehand. Failure to apply for a separate visa before the current visa expires shall make the person an unlawful non-citizen and subject to legal disciplinary actions. It is, therefore, your duty to contact the best migration lawyers and arrange for the documents and other required proofs so that you can stay lawfully in Australia.
The time is serious, and hence any mistakes or errors may not get another chance for rectification. Therefore, it would be best to make a checklist with the ways to approach each of the probable outcomes. Take the consultation of migration lawyers if you need it.
Some visas that allow staying
The ministry is giving the persons being treated for the COVID-19 or other ailments a chance to lawfully stay in Australia if their visas are nearing the expiry date. Below are given a list of some visas that you may apply accordingly;
- Medical treatment visa (subclass 602)
This visa can be applied by the individual who is currently sick and staying at home or is admitted to a hospital receiving treatment for coronavirus. The form is available online and can be downloaded as per need. The application would need the signature of the doctor administering treatment on a specified form.
- Protection visa (subclass 886)
This visa can be applied for if the applicant has grounds to believe that as an essential and estimative result of the applicant being detached from Australia to a receiving nation, there is a tangible risk that the applicant will suffer substantial detriment. The legal system of Australia provides the necessary obligations to the ministry so that the applicant will not have to leave Australia. For example, if your home country is in quarantine due to this viral infection, you can apply for this visa on the grounds that you have a serious risk to your health if you are made to go back. The ministry may not grant the 886 visas later, but for the time being, you can stay back as a lawful and validated foreigner in Australia for a considerable amount of time.
The “no-further-stay” situation
The visa holder whose visa is nearing the expiry date should check whether his or her visa has a condition 8558 attached. This condition does not allow the holder to stay for more than a year in an 18-month period, so the holder should apply for another visa with enough time in hand. However, if the existing visa has the conditions 8503, 8534, or 8535; also known as the “no-further-stay” condition included, then by law, the holder cannot place another visa application in Australia. However, the waiver for this condition can be applied for by filling the form 1447. It is best to apply for the waiver during the final two months of the visa. If you need additional help, you can always hire Migration lawyers in Perth WA to properly arrange the process.
Leave out Australia
The ministry of immigration has placed stringent protective measures around the port-of-entries. The attempt to forcefully and unnecessarily travel to Australia will be met with the harshest consequence. If you have traveled through china after 1st February and try to enter Australia, you will be taken to the detention center for a specified isolation period. Therefore, it is best to keep Australia away from your journey list during the pandemic, both for yourself and others.