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Filipino temporary visa holders are weighing in whether to leave Australia or continue to be away from their family this Christmas

Temporary visa holders are demanding some clarity on when they will be able to return home without the fear of not being able to return to Australia Source: Jeff Hora/Michael Remoto

Temporary visa holders in Australia are demanding some clarity on when they will be able to return home without the fear of not being able to return to the country.

Australia’s international border has been closed for more than 18 months and many Filipinos have been waiting to reconnect with loved ones this Christmas season.

Skilled migrant, Michael Remoto is hoping to reunite with his family in the Philippines after three years of being apart. But the reopening of Australia's international border won't apply for everyone.


Highlights

  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that most fully vaccinated Australians and permanent residents would be able to travel internationally in November
  • Further decisions on reopening international travel for temporary visa holders were still being considered.
  • Department of Home Affairs said foreign nationals, including temporary visa holders, continue to require a travel exemption to enter Australia unless they are in an exempt category which includes immediate family members of an Australian citizen or permanent resident, approved workers, or New Zealand citizens who usually reside in Australia.

"My youngest child is always asking me, 'Daddy when are you coming back home?'. I always tell them that I will be there as soon as there's a flight available. But honestly, I'm afraid that if I go back to the Philippines, I will not be able to return here."

It's the same situation for Jeff Hora, an international student who wanted to be with his family this Christmas.

"I really wanted to go because I also need to start my return service but I want to be back here for my graduation."

From November, only fully vaccinated citizens, permanent residents and their families will be able to leave Australia for any reason.

Foreign nationals are currently able to leave Australia but they are barred from re-entering without an exemption.

The federal government will not allow everyone to enter the country to prioritise the return of Australians who've been stuck overseas.

Temporary residents in Australia, like Michael and Jeff, feel they've exhausted their options.
The spokesperson of the Department of Home Affairs said further information on the entry requirements for temporary residents and other foreign nationals will become available as Australia works through the stages of its national reopening plan.

In the meantime, fully vaccinated Australians and Permanent Residents arriving in NSW in November will be able to home quarantine for 7 days (instead of 14-day hotel-quarantine) – depending on the outcome of current home-quarantine trials.

Travellers must be fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) – including Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Janssen, Sinovac and Covishield vaccines for travellers.

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