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Experience with Australian border controls leaving the country

Gremlin

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Mar 5, 2010
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Yes. When the Do Not Travel alert went on it never occurred to me that this prevented travel out of the country. I thought you could still travel but at your own risk completely.
Theoretically this is true. But right now there are VERY, VERY few destinations that don't require consular support to get back from. The chances of any traveller right now being able to say that their return flight will definitively be operating is practically nil. 170,000 Aussies have sought consular assistance worldwide in the past two months in order to get home. And more still who have technically breached visa conditions because there are no flights. Yet Australian embassies worldwide are still dealing with people saying "but I didn't think 'Do Not Travel' would mean I wouldn't be able to get home from Bali/Aspen/Phuket/Chamonix".

There's a biosecurity aspect to it, but also an allocation of resource. As I mentioned in the other thread, DFAT are scaling back everything else to prioritise getting people home. This includes scaling back support for international trade at a time when international trade is being completely thrown on its head. You do what you can to help people who have found themselves in strife through no fault of their own, but prioritising the restart of trade has to be in the national interest ahead of supporting those that would choose to ignore a 'Do Not Travel' warning. This is not forever, but it's an extraordinary circumstance.
 

Pushka

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Theoretically this is true. But right now there are VERY, VERY few destinations that don't require consular support to get back from. The chances of any traveller right now being able to say that their return flight will definitively be operating is practically nil. 170,000 Aussies have sought consular assistance worldwide in the past two months in order to get home. And more still who have technically breached visa conditions because there are no flights. Yet Australian embassies worldwide are still dealing with people saying "but I didn't think 'Do Not Travel' would mean I wouldn't be able to get home from Bali/Aspen/Phuket/Chamonix".

There's a biosecurity aspect to it, but also an allocation of resource. As I mentioned in the other thread, DFAT are scaling back everything else to prioritise getting people home. This includes scaling back support for international trade at a time when international trade is being completely thrown on its head. You do what you can to help people who have found themselves in strife through no fault of their own, but prioritising the restart of trade has to be in the national interest ahead of supporting those that would choose to ignore a 'Do Not Travel' warning. This is not forever, but it's an extraordinary circumstance.
I'm thinking that those people who don't want to return, should be allowed to exit. Assuming of course they are travelling to a country like the UK.
So, this potential NZ bubble. Would it be possible for an Aussie to fly to NZ then fly onwards to their real country of choice?
 

dajop

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There's a biosecurity aspect to it, but also an allocation of resource.
It is primarily about biosecurity though, is it not?

I was reading about a Singaporean citizen, Australian Permanent Resident, who had obtained permission from her employer to work from in Singapore for four months, so she could return to Singapore to support her elderly mother. Her request for exemption from travel ban was denied. She obviously would not need consular assistance.
 

Gremlin

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It is primarily about biosecurity though, is it not?

I was reading about a Singaporean citizen, Australian Permanent Resident, who had obtained permission from her employer to work from in Singapore for four months, so she could return to Singapore to support her elderly mother. Her request for exemption from travel ban was denied. She obviously would not need consular assistance.
I completely agree that, in aggregate, it's primarily a biosecurity risk. We all know why we are in this situation. I'm just saying that, from a practical perspective, there's more than just the biosecurity risk that contributed to the decision to halt exits.

As an example, look at Fiji. Most recent COVID-19 case reported on the 20th of April. 18 cases in total and only 3 active cases remaining. If there's a biosecurity risk, it's pretty low in the grand scheme of things. But practically, there have been only two opportunities to come back to Australia in the last month. One was on the 30th of April and was organised through the Australian High Commission where a number of people sat in the belly of an RAAF plane that had run supplies to the islands. The second was a specially arranged commercial flight on the 22nd of May. Again, a lot of work by the High Commission to implement.

There were a number of people who self-assessed the health risk as low and decided that they should still go on their Fiji holiday even though the rest of the world, including Fiji, had been moved to 'Do Not Travel'. The health risk and the biosecurity risk assessments were probably fair, but the logistical effort required to get them home in that circumstance remains an unpalatable cost to the Australian people.

But no one's denying that the circumstance is completely caused by the biosecurity situation.
 

glasszon

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I'm thinking that those people who don't want to return, should be allowed to exit. Assuming of course they are travelling to a country like the UK.
So, this potential NZ bubble. Would it be possible for an Aussie to fly to NZ then fly onwards to their real country of choice?
That's what I am saying in the other thread: I don't know why Australia decides to have an exit travel ban, when no other country has done so, not even NZ.

About the potential NZ bubble, I can't imagine Australia went through all that effort then to allow people to "escape" Australia via New Zealand. Remember NZ has access to the AU immigration database, so they can easily flag down citizens and PRs who are trying to leave Australia via NZ.

At best it might be a loophole for dual citizens, in particular dual AU/NZ citizens who might be able to use their NZ passport to enter NZ, but even then I am skeptical.
 

Gremlin

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That's what I am saying in the other thread: I don't know why Australia decides to have an exit travel ban, when no other country has done so, not even NZ.

About the potential NZ bubble, I can't imagine Australia went through all that effort then to allow people to "escape" Australia via New Zealand. Remember NZ has access to the AU immigration database, so they can easily flag down citizens and PRs who are trying to leave Australia via NZ.

At best it might be a loophole for dual citizens, in particular dual AU/NZ citizens who might be able to use their NZ passport to enter NZ, but even then I am skeptical.
Glasszon,

You've made this point a couple of times now. What are your circumstances that mean it's so pressing to leave the country? Where are you hoping to go?
 

PineappleSkip

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Incredible that we’d even be using terms like this for wanting to leave the country! Really scary precedent
Made even scarier by the lack of public information on when the liberty to travel is granted. That's probably the worst part of it.

The chances of any traveller right now being able to say that their return flight will definitively be operating is practically nil.
On any particular day, probably, but the country I work in (normally) I know how to get there and back even now. For me the limiting factor on routing is the ability to transit, but the big problems are the ability to enter the foreign country, and the restrictions on arrival.

I don't know why Australia decides to have an exit travel ban, when no other country has done so, not even NZ
Numerous other countries have a total travel ban, most commonly through the banning of international flights altogether, and it's common to include exit travel bans on citizens. Have a look at the many dark blue countries on this map. And Australia isn't even one of them.

Cheers skip
 

davistev

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Jun 30, 2009
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I just wish the Australian government allowed those who want to leave to deposit some sort of bond (refundable after 12 months) to cover any quarantine costs if indeed a return occured.

We are a family of 4, all dual citizens of the USA / Australia. Our family home is in the USA and always has been. Our kids go to online school from the USA and we lodge our tax returns in the USA and Australia as required by law. We normally spend a year in the USA and a year in Australia switching back and fouth. I normally fly across the pond monthly to atend to our American home or Australian fishing, camping and lifestyle stuff. It is just how our life style is. We hold USA / Australian drivers licenses, bank accounts, insurance etc. Essentially, we have two homes, two countries but one life. We never bought a house in Australia as we consider rents in Australia a bargain compared to purchasing a home. The kids want to go on their field trips and summer camps with their American friends and the elderly portion of our family are all in the USA (grand parents).

All of the above would not be considered "essential" in the eyes of Australian Immigration under the Quarantine Act to issue a waiver so we could leave. I promise not to return anytime soon is all I can offer.

How do Australians get permission to Migrate during this pandemic? According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2019 298,000 Australians left Australia to live overseas - are they stopped now as well?
 

MEL_Traveller

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I just wish the Australian government allowed those who want to leave to deposit some sort of bond (refundable after 12 months) to cover any quarantine costs if indeed a return occured.
Agree.

When the travel ban was introduced the government was footing the bill for quarantine on arrival. If the onus is now on travellers, I think the exit ban should be lifted. And, of course, no consular assistance to get home for covid related reasons.

How the bond would work will have challenges.
 

antycbr

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Agree.

When the travel ban was introduced the government was footing the bill for quarantine on arrival. If the onus is now on travellers, I think the exit ban should be lifted. And, of course, no consular assistance to get home for covid related reasons.

How the bond would work will have challenges.
The no consular assistance is very difficult as we have international treaty obligations.
 

sydunipete

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I received permission to leave the country for the imminent death of an immediate family member.

It took approximately 3 business days in the urgent category and arrived 3 hours before our flight was due to leave.

There is clearly a triage process so it's disappointing that urgent cases aren't addressed quicker.
 

Pushka

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I received permission to leave the country for the imminent death of an immediate family member.

It took approximately 3 business days in the urgent category and arrived 3 hours before our flight was due to leave.

There is clearly a triage process so it's disappointing that urgent cases aren't addressed quicker.
And it isn't like with an imminent death that you get much notice of the final stages at all. Just so much unnecessary angst for you all.
 

nichojo

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Nov 15, 2016
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I just wish the Australian government allowed those who want to leave to deposit some sort of bond (refundable after 12 months) to cover any quarantine costs if indeed a return occured.

We are a family of 4, all dual citizens of the USA / Australia. Our family home is in the USA and always has been. Our kids go to online school from the USA and we lodge our tax returns in the USA and Australia as required by law. We normally spend a year in the USA and a year in Australia switching back and fouth. I normally fly across the pond monthly to atend to our American home or Australian fishing, camping and lifestyle stuff. It is just how our life style is. We hold USA / Australian drivers licenses, bank accounts, insurance etc. Essentially, we have two homes, two countries but one life. We never bought a house in Australia as we consider rents in Australia a bargain compared to purchasing a home. The kids want to go on their field trips and summer camps with their American friends and the elderly portion of our family are all in the USA (grand parents).

All of the above would not be considered "essential" in the eyes of Australian Immigration under the Quarantine Act to issue a waiver so we could leave. I promise not to return anytime soon is all I can offer.

How do Australians get permission to Migrate during this pandemic? According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2019 298,000 Australians left Australia to live overseas - are they stopped now as well?
Curious - why wouldn't you be able to leave using your US passports and claim you were here for work or other temporary purposes?
 

nichojo

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Nov 15, 2016
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Australian citizens are required to enter on their Aussie passports. The US passport would be blocked at border control (exit) because it hadn't been used to enter Australia.
Understood. Thanks. We are US Citizens here in Australia on a 457/488 Visa and just had a baby. We have travel booked in January to introduce baby to the family (we're here on our own) and I have no idea if that's going to happen. We could leave, but I wouldn't expect Australia to let us back in/grant us a compassionate re-entry exemption. It's very tough time for us.
 

Pushka

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Understood. Thanks. We are US Citizens here in Australia on a 457/488 Visa and just had a baby. We have travel booked in January to introduce baby to the family (we're here on our own) and I have no idea if that's going to happen. We could leave, but I wouldn't expect Australia to let us back in/grant us a compassionate re-entry exemption. It's very tough time for us.
It's a tough time for many with families overseas. DIL who is a dual Aus-Brit, as is her baby (grandson) can't fly back to the UK to meet up with her mum and dad and brother.
 

mviy

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Dec 1, 2015
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What's the minimum time ahead of travel to apply? Want to have time for a second application if rejected. Probably need to travel by next weekend.

Need to attend the wedding for an immediate family member who lives overseas.

Not looking forward to 4 weeks of quarantine but understand that it's necessary in the current circumstances.
 

thepumpkin

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Jun 10, 2006
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I am sure there are others in my situation.
I am an expat who has been working in the US for many years ---luckily in a flyover state with a relatively low incidence of COVID19.

I used to travel back to Australia twice per year to visit lots of family----some of whom are now elderly ---as old as 95.
I am concerned about the health of some of my relatives and hope it holds until I can return,

I can do FaceTime with my cousins but it is not easy with some of the older family members who have hearing and cognitive issues. It still is not the same as a family dinner

I would be unable to take the time off work to do 2 weeks quarantine ---as I would have to do the same on my return to the US due to my job.
I accept the reasons as one would not want to spread an illness like that in the community---and testing can still miss it.

I know it is a waiting game and hope that there are some solutions in the near future---but it is looking somewhat bleak.
 

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