Australian Conronavirus Update

All foreign travellers* will be banned from entering Australia from Friday night 20 March 2020 at 9pm AEDT.

Key points:

• All non-residents will be banned from arriving in Australia from 9:00pm AEDT on Friday

• It replaces earlier travel bans on foreigners coming from China, Iran, Italy and South Korea

• Australians who return from overseas will still need to isolate themselves for a fortnight

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced the enhanced border measures in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

It applies to all people who are non-citizens and non-residents* such as temporary visa holders and visitor visa holders.

Australian passport holders and permanent residents will still be able to return from overseas but they will be required to self-isolate for 14 days (see attached government advice on isolation).

Mr Morrison said he had consulted New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern about Australia’s new travel ban prior to announcing it.

“The New Zealand arrangement, in the same way as it has in the past, doesn’t apply to Australians living in New Zealand as New Zealand residents,” he said.

“Equally for New Zealanders living in Australia as Australian residents, these are the same rules that apply in both countries.

“We have worked today to align what we’re doing and I appreciate that openness.”


Currently the import and export of cargo continues by sea and air, The Australian Border Force remains in operation and will likely continue to do so even in the event of a ‘lockdown’. There are some delays with air freight in and out of the country as you might expect with the availability of air capacity now severely impacted, although we understand that wide body passenger jets in many countries are now being prepared for use as cargo only flights (at much higher cost because they will be operating with cargo revenue only and no pax revenue to offset operating costs). So we may see an improvement in air capacity in coming weeks. Sea freight operations continue albeit with some minor delays at present due to vessels being restricted with berthing not permitted into Brisbane until 14 days has elapsed since the vessels departures from the last foreign port. His is likely to be extended to apply to all Australian ports. In practice this really only impacts vessels arriving from some APAC ports such as Singapore (11-13 days transit), New Zealand and some Pacific Islands.

What does this mean for HR Managers?

Visa holders who are overseas such as 482, 457,400, 417 (working holiday) and business visas (ETA’s) will not be able to enter Australia after 9pm tonight. Visa holders who are in Australia and with a visa such as 482,417,457 or ETA that is expiring and they cannot or don’t wish to depart Australia, then they may be able to apply for a visitor visa which will enable them to remain in Australia until the travel ban is lifted.