IMPORTANT UPDATES FOR THOSE WISHING TO RETURN TO AUSTRALIA
In an Australian National Cabinet meeting on 05 February, the Prime Minister, and the State and Territory leaders reaffirmed a shared priority to support Australians return home and agreed to increase caps on international passenger arrivals from mid-February. Read here on the key decisions announced - National Cabinet | Prime Minister of Australia (pm.gov.au)
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR AUSTRALIANS
For up-to-date information on India, please refer to the Smartraveller website.
We can all help slow the spread of COVID-19. To protect yourself and others you must:
· practise good hygiene
· practise social distancing
· limit contact with other people
· understand how to isolate if you need to
· look after your mental health
If you need urgent consular assistance (for example you have been attacked, arrested) please call +91 11 4139 9900.
REGISTER WITH US FOR UPDATES
If you have not yet done so, we urge you to register with the Australian High Commission – this will enable us to contact you should the need arise including advising when flights to return to Australia are available.
Click on this link to register with us: https://covid19.dfat.gov.au
If you have any problems with hotels, including hotels accepting bookings, please contact the 24/7 Indian Government tourism hotline on 1800 11 1363 (available in 12 languages).
All existing visas, except electronic visas (e-Visa), Tourist visa and Medical Visa, which remained suspended, shall stand restored with immediate effect. If the validity of such visa has expired, the foreign national may obtain a fresh visa of appropriate category/sub-category from the Indian Mission/Post concerned.
ADVISORY: TRAVEL AND VISA RESTRICTIONS RELATED TO COVID-19 (boi.gov.in). To extend your visa apply online through FRRO/FRO.
EXTENSION OF INDIA'S FLIGHT BAN
India has extended its ban on regular scheduled international passenger flights until 28 February. However, international all-cargo operations and flights specifically allowed to operate by the Indian aviation regulator, such as repatriation flights, charter flights, and flights under the Vande Bharat Mission, will continue to operate. We have prepared responses to frequently asked questions, including covering existing flight bookings, charter options, visa extensions and tips for the lockdown in India. Read more...
ATTENTION: Be careful when choosing charter fights
Many people are asking us about other private charter options being promoted. Be aware: only flights we notify registered Australians about have the approvals required to operate. Please be cautious about other options.
RETURING TO AUSTRALIA
Pre-departure COVID-19 testing
Following the decision by National Cabinet (8 January 2021) and announcement from the Prime Minister, if you’re travelling to Australia you must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 (PCR) test to your airline when checking in for your flight at the departure point.
- This applies to all travellers five years of age or older departing on flights on or after 22 January 2021.
- You must be tested 72 hours or less prior to departure and present a negative result when checking in prior to boarding your flight.
- If you transit through a third country on your return journey to Australia, you should check on any local requirements at your transit destination and follow the advice of local authorities on social distancing and mask wearing while in transit.
Anyone who has a negative test result and enters Australia, must still complete mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated facilities in your port of arrival. More information could be found in Smartraveller under Returning to Australia.
We are sending updates on flight options to Australians who have registered with us (see above on how to do so). We will update this website when there is any change in this advice or if new airline information becomes available.
The Australian government continues to investigate commercial flights options to repatriate those wanting to return to Australia. The planning and coordination of these flights will affect consideration of privately-organised charter flights.
If you have sought approval for a privately-organised charter, you can expect to be contacted by the Australian Border Force. The AHC New Delhi is unable to provide any assistance for private charter flights until such approvals have been provided in Australia.
We continue to assess all such requests against a range of factors, including the need to manage and sequence the return of Australians into our international airports so that Commonwealth, State and Territory authorities can successfully implement reception arrangements, including mandatory quarantine requirements.
Payment and Services to Australians returning from overseas
If you have purchased a ticket on a flight to Australia a movement pass from the Indian government to travel to the city from where your flight is departing is no longer required. However, you should contact and consult the state governments you need to pass through to confirm what requirements they may have and comply with these.
All travellers returning to Australia will be required to undertake a mandatory 14 day quarantine at designated facilities at their port of entry. You will be directed to a facility (such as a hotel) on arrival in Australia and will be required to stay there for 14 days before you can complete any onward travel or return to your home. The accommodation, along with food, water and any medical support will be provided by the Australian Government. See the Smartraveller website for more.
Should you then wish to travel to another state or territory you may be subject to an additional period of quarantine or other restrictions. You should keep up with the latest information from the relevant State and Territory Governments:
Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
New South Wales
FOOD AND MEDICINE
As you know, the Indian Government has announced further relaxaions to restrictions on activities outside of containment zones. Indian authorities advise that people will have access to food and medicine in containment zones.
For those staying in hotels, you should be able to drive or walk to nearby shops and pharmacies. If you are having problems, we suggest asking your hotel, local authorities or friends to help you get essential supplies.
If you have any problems. Contact us: (Business hours: +91 11 4139 9900, [email protected]; For outside of business hours: +612 6261 3305).
You can also call the Police on 100.
INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS IN AUSTRALIA
The Morrison Government is making a number of changes to student visa arrangements to ensure Australia remains a priority destination for international students as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. (Media Announcement: https://minister.homeaffairs.gov.au/alantudge/Pages/supporting-international-students-support-australian-jobs.aspx)
International students are extremely important to Australia and our economy, contributing $40 billion annually and supporting 250,000 jobs. Many also go on to become great Australian citizens.
While the closure of our international borders has been critical to our success in slowing the spread of the coronavirus, and Australia has been a leader in this regard, it has presented challenges to the education sector and students, both here and offshore.
These five visa changes will ensure international students are not worse off due to the coronavirus pandemic and that Australia remains competitive with other countries.
The changes include:
The Government will recommence granting student visas in all locations lodged outside Australia. This means when borders re-open, students will already have visas and be able to make arrangements to travel.
International students will be able to lodge a further student visa application free of charge, if they are unable to complete their studies within their original visa validity due to COVID-19.
Student visa holders studying online outside Australia due to COVID-19 will be able to use that study to count towards the Australian study requirement for a post-study work visa.
Graduates who held a student visa will be eligible to apply for a post-study work visa outside Australia if they are unable to return due to COVID-19.
Additional time will be given for applicants to provide English language results where COVID-19 has disrupted access to these services.
International Students in Australia Factsheet
See also the Australian government's portal on support available for international students in Australia during COVID-19.
- Australian High Commission consular assistance
- Business hours: +91 11 4139 9900, [email protected]
- For outside of business hours: +612 6261 3305
- Australian High Commission
- Australian Consulate General Chennai
- Australian Consulate General Kolkata
- Australian Consulate General Mumbai
- Key Indian Government contact points:
Welcome to the Australian Consulate-General in Chennai
This office is responsible for Australia’s Interests in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and the Union Territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Puducherry.
This website provides information on the various services of the Australian Consulate-General in Chennai. For more regular updates of our activites visit us on Twitter and Facebook.
I am pleased to be Australia’s Consul General to South India, based in Chennai - the city that looks across the waves of the Indian Ocean to my home country, Australia. I had a posting in New Delhi from 2008-2011 and am delighted to come back to South India, a region rich in culture, diversity and history.
The Australia-India partnership has never been stronger. As the world faces a challenging time it is remarkable to see how Australia and India are working together towards a globally coordinated response to COVID-19 and to build a prosperous, open and stable post COVID-19 world.
I am looking forward to advancing cooperation with South India under the Australia-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. There is much we can do together, including on technology and cyber cooperation. During my time, I will also focus on maritime security co-operation with Southern India, as both India and Australia share a vision of a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific region. Trade and investment diversification is also an important aspect of our bilateral agenda.
The expanding linkages between our people are enriching all aspects of bilateral ties. The Indian community in Australia is now the fastest-growing of our diasporas, with significant numbers from South India. I hope I have a chance to meet many of you to build connections and work together over my time here.
As a committed advocate for Women in Leadership, I will look to provide platforms to support girls and women in various fields, including STEM, sport, entrepreneurship and leadership.
We are also available to support Australians needing consular assistance. For emergency assistance at any time you can ring 1300 555 135 within Australia or +61 2 6261 3305 from outside Australia or SMS +61 421 269 080.
I look forward to staying connected through my official twitter handle @AusCGChennai and also encourage you to keep up to date with the activities of the Australian High Commissioner to India @AusHCIndia
Australian Consul General to South India
Australian Alumni Grants Scheme: Round 1 2020 winners announced
In February 2020, Australian diplomatic missions in India opened the inaugural round of the Australian Alumni Grant Scheme (AAGS) to provide seed funding to support alumni-led initiatives that create impact across the 10 sectors of the India Economic Strategy. The projects are intended to strengthen ties between both nations, support alumni in their professional endeavours and improve ‘Australia literacy’ in India.
The first winners of funding under the AAGS have been announced. Read more about them here.
Important changes to Smartraveller
Smartraveller has the latest, authoritative travel advice so you can be informed and prepared about overseas travel. Subscribe to receive travel advice updates - by simply supplying your name and email address – straight to your inbox.
You can now also subscribe to the new SMS service - by supplying your mobile number – to receive critical alerts in the event of a crisis overseas.
In a crisis, Smartraveller will activate a crisis page on its website. It will make it easier for you or someone you know to contact the Australian Government if you need help. It will supplement the consular emergency hotline.
Visit www.smartraveller.gov.au to subscribe or connect with Smartraveller on Facebook and Twitter.
The strategy, led by former DFAT Secretary and High Commissioner to India, Peter Varghese, is an ambitious plan to grow the economic partnership between India and Australia out to 2035.
Full report is available at indiaeconomicstrategy.dfat.gov.au
Media release: India Economic Strategy
Watch the video link on Capturing India’s economic transformation
Emergency Contact for Australians
For Australians in distress, please call the Australian Consulate-General consular section on +91 44 4592 1300
. If it is outside of business hours or if you are having difficulty getting through to the Consulate-General, contact the Consular Emergency Centre (CEC) in Canberra directly on +61 2 6261 3305 or by SMS on +61 421 269 080 . The CEC may also assist concerned family members in Australia and can be contacted on 1300 555 135 (within Australia).
9th Floor, Express Chambers, Express Avenue
49, 50L Whites Road, Royapettah
Chennai 600 014
Tel: +91 44 4592 1300
Fax: +91 44 4592 1320
Email: (General Queries) [email protected]
If you would like to be informed of any upcoming events and initiatives organised by the Australian Consulate-General kindly send us an email to the email address mentioned above with your contact details.
The Australian Consulate-General in Chennai does not provide any assistance with regards to Australian visas or Australian citizenship applications which are processed in New Delhi by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.