Australians who normally live overseas will now need the government’s permission to return home

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Australians who normally live overseas have been banned from returning to their usual country of residence without the federal government’s permission.

The latest hardening of Australia’s international border removes the automatic exemption that had allowed Australian citizens and permanent residents to travel overseas.

Travel rules were quietly overhauled in parliament late on Thursday, with the changes to come into effect from 11 August under revised emergency health orders.   

Until now, Australians who normally resided overseas had been permitted to leave Australia if they could prove they lived abroad.

However, under the new rules, a permanent resident of Australia or an Australian citizen will now have to apply for permission to leave Australia and provide a compelling reason for the need to travel outside of Australia.   

The government said that the new rules are aimed at addressing concerns over some people who had frequently travelled between countries.

The government said the amendment would “reduce pressure on Australia’s quarantine capacity, reduce the risks posed to the Australian population from COVID-19, and assist in returning vulnerable Australians back home”.

A spokesperson for Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said, “This does not stop Australians ordinarily resident outside Australia from departing, however these people will now need to apply for an exemption”. 

“These restrictions provide a balanced approach between allowing Australians to travel, if essential, while protecting community health.”

Source: SBS

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