The federal government announced a series of new travel restrictions on Monday which, if implemented, would ban Australian Express domestic flights from the US.
The ban will apply to US citizens and permanent residents, as well as people on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
“There is no justification for the US government to impose such an extreme travel restriction on Australians,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said.
“The US is a nation that has been, and continues to be, a very close and close ally, but it also has an extraordinary diversity of values, cultures and history.”
That is why it is so important that Australians have the opportunity to travel to places that are close to home, and it is also why I am determined to ensure that Australians are able to travel across this country freely.
“The changes would be the most sweeping of any federal government action against American tourists since Donald Trump was elected president.”
This is not an attack on Americans,” Ms Bishop said, adding that “the US government’s actions are not in any way aimed at hurting Australian citizens”.
The US travel ban is one of a series that the US has imposed on travellers from some Muslim-majority countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia.
While some of these countries were previously considered “safe havens” for Americans, some of the measures have now been expanded to include countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and Somalia, and others have been extended.”
We know that there are many Australians who have travelled to those countries in the past, who have now chosen to return home and are now fearful that they will be targeted again,” Ms Williamson said.
The changes come in the wake of the US State Department suspending visa waiver programs for US citizens, which include Australians.
Ms Bishop said the decision was not a move to “permanently ban” Australians from the country.”
No, we have a process to determine whether or not to extend the travel ban,” she said.
Ms Williamson also noted that the ban would apply to people who have been granted refugee status or were on the VWP.”
Those people will be able to continue to travel,” she added.
Ms Trump has repeatedly threatened to cut off visa waivers to countries with “diverse” cultures, and also imposed a temporary ban on refugees entering the US from seven Muslim-dominated countries.
But the US immigration department has said that the restrictions would not apply to the Australian Government’s refugee resettlement program, which has been a success.”
Under the new rule, refugee resettlement applicants will not be denied admission to the US due to a country’s visa waiver restrictions,” the department said in a statement.”
Refugee resettlement applicants may be admitted to the United States if they are able and willing to apply for refugee status in the United State.
“Applicants who have received refugee status can apply for admission in the US to the refugee resettlement programs established by the Department of Homeland Security.”
Ms Bishop’s announcement follows a number of announcements by the Federal Government on Monday to cut back on domestic travel.
Ms Johnson said the Government had also introduced a number more measures to cut down on travel from the Middle East and North Africa, and the Government would continue to “immediately” close the border between Australia and Papua New Guinea.
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