Daily US Times: Australian citizens living overseas could be “trapped” in Australia if they return, after the country’s government tightened its border rules without notice.
The country has banned its citizens from leaving the country since last year’s March as part of its Covid strategy.
That restriction hasn’t previously applied to Australians who usually live overseas.
But the Australians living overseas will now need to apply for an exemption for outbound travel – in line with rules for other fellow citizens. The change will be in effect from 11 August.
Australia’s tough border rules have been controversial in the country. Critics say this change will further punish families and deter citizens from returning.
The Australian government said the measure aimed to reduce the risk of coronavirus cases entering the country as it grapples with its worst outbreaks in a year.
The country already has a weekly limit on incoming travellers and bans foreigners from entry unless they have an exemption. Its policies are among the strictest in the world.
Last month, the country halved the number of permitted arrivals due to Delta variant outbreaks.
Many Australians have expressed their anger at the latest move, branded by some as barbaric.
Alexandra Phelan, who lives in the United States, tweeted she was “waking up to news that I’m effectively exiled from my country”.
While the closed-border policy has been mostly supported in Australia, but many people have also criticised its impact on citizens.
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