Should Australian expats be required to pay for quarantine is the question that many Australian expats have on their minds at present. In fact, many Australian expats are criticising the government’s new ruling that they must spend 14 days in quarantine, and be charged for this time, if they return to Australia.
Expats, who may be returning to their home country to see relatives or settle financial matters, are criticising this new policy as they believe it is against their rights as an Australian citizen.
In order to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Australian federal government has significantly tightened its borders and has reduced its usual weekly arrivals to the country from 7,000 to 4,000. The government claim to have cut this figure due to concerns that some states and territories may not have the facilities to accommodate and manage the quarantine of arrivals into Australia.
Although flights have been cut in order to relieve the pressure on Australian hotels, Australian expats are now facing additional pressure to find a flight to return home. In addition to this, hotels will now also be charging for periods of quarantine, although this was initially free at the start of the pandemic.
In New South Wales, expats will have to pay $3,000 for an adult in quarantine, $1,000 for any additional adults and $500 for a child aged three or over. These charges are stated to include both food and accommodation.
Although many expats are outraged at these charges, the Premier of New South Wales, Gladys Berejiklian, is insistent these charges are necessary as she reported New South Wales alone has spent more than $65 million on free quarantine in hotels since March. She continued to support this policy in a statement announcing that “Australian residents have been given plenty of time to return home – and we feel it is only fair that they cover some of the costs of their hotel accommodation.”
Whilst the new policy has made many expats feel alienated from their own country, on the whole Australia has been widely praised for its handling of the pandemic. But what do you think? Should Australian expats be required to pay for quarantine?
If you are an Australian expat and need any help and guidance during this difficult time, please do not hesitate to contact our team here at Expat Tax Services. We can provide you with Australian tax residency advice during your return to Australia, Australian tax advice generally, tax preparation services and we can help you organise your finances to assist you throughout this pandemic.