Australia has made a significant change to the travel restrictions and exemptions rules for travel from India.
Department of Home Affairs says based on current health advice, individuals seeking an exemption to travel from India to Australia will only be approved for the following limited circumstances:
- critical workers providing assistance to Australia’s COVID-19 response
- people travelling in Australia’s national interest
- people travelling due to the death or funeral of a close family member in Australia
- people visiting a close family member who is critically ill
- people escorting an Australian citizen or permanent resident minor back to Australia, where the parents of the child are currently in Australia.
“The discretionary exemptions outlined in the Commissioner’s Guidelines, excluding the limited circumstances stated above, do not currently apply to people seeking to travel from India. This advice is subject to change. Please check back regularly,” the department has stated on its website.
Several people have expressed relief over these changes.
Sunny Joura, an Australian-Indian who has been demanding a change in the travel restrictions says it is heartening to know that the Australian government has finally buckled to pressure from the citizens to allow travel exemption for parents or close family members to bring back stranded children from India.
“Also travelling in case of a family member’s death and attending to a critically ill close family member has been allowed. In addition to this, every week one Qantas repatriation flight is currently flying from India to Australia carrying about 200 passengers per flight. I hope these repatriation flights continue to fly and their frequency increased so that all stranded Australians can be brought back home soon,” said Mr Joura in a Facebook post.