Australia’s immigration chief tells tourists: Take the next flight home

Australia is threatening to kick out visitors who don’t comply with the country’s social distancing rules.

At a news conference today, acting immigration minister Alan Tudge had a blunt message for non-compliant travelers:

“A, you’ll be in breach of state law for doing that and you can be fined. B, you’ll be breaching your visa conditions and if we find that out we’ll be kicking you out of the country. And then that will be a mark against your name for future visits to Australia. This is deadly serious,” he said at a news conference today.

He also urged international tourists to leave the country.

“For international tourists, take the next flight home, particularly if you don’t have any family support,” he said. “The largest source of tourists in the country at the moment are from the United Kingdom. Next week alone there are 150 flights to London — so there are those options for people to get home. And we ask them to exercise those options.”

Skilled visa holders: Australia has about 139,000 temporary skilled visa holders, who are often invited to fill skills shortages, typically on two-year or four-year visas.

If these visa holders lose their job, they have 60 days to find a new one or leave. For those who have been stood down or had their hours reduced by the coronavirus measures, their visa will remain valid, Tudge said.

Backpacker visas: There are about 118,000 people on “backpacker” visas who can work for six months for a single employer.

If they work in critical industries, they can work longer than six months, Tudge said, and their visa will be extended for another year.

New Zealanders: About half of the 600,000 New Zealanders in Australia won’t have access to job seeker payments, but will have access to job keeper payments, Tudge added.

Australia's immigration chief tells tourists: Take the next flight home

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