Djokovic has a good chance of getting the Australian visa

Djokovic has a good chance of getting the Australian visa

A Melbourne-based immigration lawyer says Novak Djokovic will likely succeed if he applies for a visa to enter Australia for next year’s season-opening tennis despite his high-profile deportation in January.

It could be as simple as writing to the Australian Border Force, explaining your exceptional circumstances and requesting that any re-entry ban be lifted.

The 21-time Grand Slam singles champion was not allowed to defend his Australian Open title this year after a tumultuous 10-day legal saga over his COVID-19 vaccination status that culminated in his visa being revoked in the eve of the tournament.

That meant he could face an exclusion period of up to three years, but Australian Border Force officials have said those periods can be waived in certain circumstances, and each case would be assessed on its merits.

And Djokovic has a case. He arrived at Melbourne airport the best tennis player in the world on a visa he had obtained online and what he believed to be a valid medical exemption to the country’s strict laws for unvaccinated travelers because it was backed by Tennis Australia and the Australian government. State of Victoria, which hosts the tournament.

Confusion reigned, generating global headlines. According to reports, that medical exemption allowed him to enter the tournament, which required that all players, fans and officials be vaccinated against the coronavirus, but not necessarily to enter the country. He was turned away by the Australian Border Force.

Australia’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke ultimately used discretionary powers to cancel Djokovic’s visa on character grounds, claiming he was a “talisman of a community of anti-vaccine sentiments”.

Immigration lawyer Kon-ming Tsai said that, in his opinion, “it would be in Australia’s best interest” to allow Djokovic entry to the 2023 tournament.

“There is no risk factor here in allowing him to come back,” Tsai said in a telephone interview Thursday with The Associated Press. “He is not going to create a problem for the community. He is one of the best tennis players in the world and he will be able to attract many foreign visitors”.

Djokovic has not officially said whether he will apply for a visa to Australia, and his Belgrade media group says it has no information so far about the nine-time Australian Open winner’s plans regarding the January 16-29 tournament.

Australia has had a change of government and changed its border rules this year and as of July 6, travelers entering no longer have to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccinations. That removes a major barrier to entry for Djokovic.

The 35-year-old Serbian star, who has won recent tournaments in Kazakhstan and Israel, can now petition new Immigration Minister Andrew Giles to reconsider his visa status.

To his credit, Djokovic left Australia quickly after his visa was revoked, has not publicly criticized Australian authorities and will only seek a temporary visa.

The first step in the process is to make an official visa application, beginning a two-stage procedure.

As the Home Department website explains, applicants in Djokovic’s circumstances must explain in writing to the Australian Border Force why the exclusion period should be waived: “You must show us that there are compassionate or compelling circumstances to stop aside his re-entry ban. and grant you the visa.

The ABF does not comment on individual cases as a matter of policy.

A review of Djokovic’s visa saga prompted Tennis Australia to outsource visa applications for players and their entourages to a company specializing in immigration matters.

That company, Absolute Immigration, was asked for comment on Djokovic’s status but did not immediately respond.

At the launch of the Australian Open 2023 at Melbourne Park on Wednesday, tournament director Craig Tiley said Tennis Australia wants to welcome Djokovic but cannot give him any official support to put pressure on the Australian government.

“It is not an issue we can lobby on. It’s definitely an issue between the two of us,” Tiley said, referring to Djokovic and the Australian government.

Tiley was heavily criticized for his role in the mix-up that led to Djokovic being detained at an immigration hotel.

After meeting him in London last month, Tiley said he believes Djokovic has no bitterness about the saga.

“He said obviously he would love to go back to Australia but he knows it will be a final decision for the federal government and he accepts that,” said Tiley, who is also the chief executive of Tennis Australia. “If he realizes, he is playing a lot of tennis at the end of the year ahead of time and I hope there will be a successful outcome with his application. But that’s up to him.”

If Djokovic goes down that path, the Malaysian-born Tsai said his decade-long experience of dealing with Australian immigration laws made him think it would likely result in a decision in Djokovic’s favour.

“The bottom line is that it’s in Australia’s best interest to lift the ban and have Djokovic come back,” Tsai said.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.