On October 27, I teamed up with the American Australian Association to assemble an expert panel to answer all the questions that Australians living abroad are currently facing in light of the strict travel restrictions in place in Australia that have impacted the way in which expats live their lives.

Watch our team of experts as they discuss travel, tax, immigration and other implications.

Our panel of experts included:

  • Ambassador Katrina Cooper, Deputy Head of Mission, Australian Embassy Washington DC
  • Ambassador John Berry, President, American Australian Association
  • Zjantelle Cammisa Markel, Principal, Cammisa Markel
  • Josh Engstrom, Travel Expert, Liberty Travel
  • Jason Stoch, CPA, UpTrend Advisory

To continue bringing you relevant and insightful online programs, we would love to hear what you thought. If you have any feedback, comments, or further questions for the panelists you can leave them here.

As promised, our expert panelists have a range of resources available that can assist you which are referred to during the webinar and can be accessed below.

Australian Government Resources
For resources referred to by Ambassador Katrina Cooper, Deputy Head of Mission at The Australian Embassy, click here.

Immigration Resources
Zjantelle from Cammisa Markel has been working tirelessly throughout the year to keep us all informed on the latest immigration challenges, and you can find all of her advice and recordings from previous webinars here.

Tax Resources
Jason from Uptrend Advisory has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to expat taxes. See more information from Jason here.

Travel Resources
Josh from Liberty Travel has assisted hundreds of Australians traveling during the pandemic. Stay up to date with the latest travel restrictions and the best ways to secure yourself a seat on a flight to Australia here.

More from America Josh
America Josh is an online guide and community network helping expats from all over the world move to and thrive in America. Its mission is to make the transition more straight forward and life abroad less stressful on individuals, thus increasing their impact on employers and the people around them. This leads to longer and more successful stays. AmericaJosh.com includes guides, reviews, tools, recommendations, and community-generated content to help with a move whether they are in the early stages of planning, have a firm plan to move, or have already made the move. These online resources coupled with events and community recommendations provide a full suite of knowledge and assistance for anyone moving to or living in the U.S.

About the AAA
The American Australian Association is the leading non-profit organization dedicated to broadening, strengthening and deepening ties across the Pacific through our business, innovation, education, veterans and arts programs and people to people exchange.  In order to continue providing programs like these the AAA needs your support. Please consider becoming a member, making a donation or supporting our upcoming Virtual Gala on November 10. You can find more information about the Gala on our website.


Transcript of Australians Abroad: What You Need To Know

America Josh: Hi, everyone. I’m America Josh and welcome to Australians abroad: what you need to know. I know it’s been a difficult year and I’m excited that America Josh and the American Australian Association could work together tonight to bring some answers to your questions around immigration tax travel and in life in 2020.

Thanks, especially to ambassador Katrina Cooper, deputy head of mission at the Australian embassy in Washington for taking the time tonight to be part of this fantastic panel. I know many of you are in situations that are stressful and impact your life in both Australia and the United States. So we’re going to do our best site to try and get the answers that you’re looking for.

We’ve set this up tonight so that we can try and answer as many questions as we can. That being said, it’s confusing for us too. And the biggest issue we have right now is that there isn’t always a correct answer. And instead, our job tonight would be to get the best knowledge we can and give you the tools appropriate to keep you up to date with the ever changing situation internationally.

So here’s how tonight’s going to work. We’ve taken the 210 questions that were submitted and organize them into something that’s as accessible for you as possible. I’m going to ask the panel questions and we’ll move around to really extract the most complete answers that we can. We’ll start very broadly.

And then we’ll zoom in and focus on some particular scenarios. Before we get started tonight. And before we get to any information, we do need to flag that this webinar is strictly for informational purposes only, and it is not intended nor should it be relied upon as a source of legal or accounting advice or opinion.

It’s important that you know this because everyone’s situation is different and not everything that you hear tonight will necessarily apply to you. So that leads me to the first introduction for tonight. I would like to welcome and introduce ambassador John Berry, the president of the American Australian association.

John, thank you to you and your team for partnering for this very important event. It’s great to have you, do you mind to letting everyone know a little bit about AAA and, uh, and your background, please?

Ambassador John Berry: Thanks so much, Josh and welcome to everyone who’s tuned in tonight. Um, the American Australian association is very proud to be partnering with you, Josh and America, Josh program.

Uh, and I’d like you to thank you directly for being such a great support to all of the Australian ex-pat community, with the work that American Josh has done, uh, throughout the whole year. It’s been a tough year and you’ve been a great help. So, so hats off to you and well done. Um, the AAA is the leading non-profit organization.

That is dedicated to strengthening the relationship between our two great nations. And since 2002, uh, we have run a scholarship and grant program that is distributed over $12 million to over 800 graduate students, veterans and artists and indigenous peoples this year alone, this crazy year, 2020. We sent $2.4 million to Australia for fire relief at the beginning of the year and we’ll award before the end of the year, over $1 million in scholarship exchanges.

2020 has also seen us taking all of our programming online, uh, midway through the year. And we are two weeks away from our very first virtual gala on November 10th. It is the one fundraisers that we rely on for all of our support for the year. And so we encourage you whether you’d like to join and be a gala supporter, or just support us so that we can continue to give out more scholarships, please visit the AAA website.

And it is now my great honor. And pleasure to introduce to you ambassador Katrina Cooper, the deputy chief of mission at the Australian embassy in Washington,

DC.

She is a wonderful friend, a wonderful person. And prior to her taking up a current, her current role

at

the embassy in Australia, she served as the senior legal advisor in the department of foreign affairs and trade

in Canberra.

Ambassador Cooper was Australia’s first female ambassador to Mexico from 2008 to 2012. And in that role, she was also the ambassador to Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, I’m Doris Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and Panama. That is quite a responsibility. She has had previous postings to pop on your platform in new Guinea and to Chile.

Ambassador Cooper. Most importantly of all, was the architect and driver of the award winning initiative on women, in leadership at the department of foreign

affairs and Trey,

she continues to be the most senior advocate in the government for leading that initiative, ambassador Cooper, we are so honored.

You could be with us tonight. Thank you for joining us and over to you.

Ambassador Katrina Cooper: Oh, well, thank you, ambassador. That was a big introduction and I’m not sure that I can, uh, I can live up to all of that. Um, but it is really, really wonderful to be here. Um, it’s terrific, uh, to, as always participate in events, organized by the AAA, which is just such a, an extraordinarily, um, outstanding organization that.

Promotes our bilateral relationship. And it’s very nice to meet you too, Josh. It’s a pleasure. And I can say we have a good number of Australians on the line. Um, I just wanted to say a few comments at the outset if I could. And I have read through, you know, the long list of questions that have been submitted and I.

I, I think I might be able to just, um, give some broad parameters that will, will help answer some of the themes of those questions before we get into the nitty-gritty if that’s okay. Um, Josh, um, but I should start by saying, um, you know, I, um, as you said, Josh, and thank you for saying that this isn’t advice so much as trying to help.

You know, our Australian community unravel, um, some of the very difficult questions that we all face, um, you know, trying to, uh, to, to get folks to and from Australia to visit loved ones. Um, it’s something that we were all, um, looking at and all dealing with. Um, so I think, you know, the role of, uh, Of a, a public servant is serve the public.

So it’s very much in that spirit that I come here to join you tonight to try and, uh, help guide, um, our Aussie citizens. And I won’t know all the answers I’m certainly, um, am not and have, uh, you know, have never been an expert. Expert on visas, which even belongs in a completely different department from mine, um, and passports and console.

Although of course I’ve bumped up across, along these issues, uh, regularly. Um, I thought it might help if I just explained that. The big decisions are being made by government in Australia, the prime minister has pulled together a national cabinet, which he chairs, which includes all the premise of the States.

And they’re advised by all the chief medical officers. So that’s the decision-making body. So many of the questions. Um, I certainly can’t answer and wouldn’t know, and, and they will be the sorts of questions. Um, uh, th those sorts of questions are the questions that are under consideration by that.

Committee and things like when will quarantine end for example, you know, they’re really big picture things they’re being made by government. So I certainly have no ability to look, look into the future and into the minds of the prime minister and the premiers. And I don’t sit in those discussions. So, but I, our responsibility as representatives overseas to is to implement and interpret those decisions that are being made and, and help guide Australians.

So that’s hopefully where I, I can, I can help out. Um, look, I’d also say that the rules are constantly being updated and changed, um, because, um, the decision around, uh, how many people go into each state, the transit to States where the borders are open or not between States there or decisions of state governments.

So when you asked, you know, starting to look at moving between the United States and Australia really do sit down and have a look. Uh, you know, up-to-date look at what the various websites say for the latest information, because they do change, um, uh, just to hit one nail on the head straight away. I mean, Australians, can’t go back to Australia, Australians and permanent residents can go back to Australia.

There is a mandatory quarantine of 14 days. Um, now there are other people that can go back to Australia. If they fit into an exempt category or they get a personal exemption. Um, I still have to quarantine them. They still have to have a valid visa. Um, the website I’ve found very helpful in preparing for this.

I did go to the immigration website to work out just how easy it is to navigate. And I was pleasantly surprised all the exempt categories are there. Um, I won’t go through them all, but it does include immediate family members of an Australian citizen or permanent resident. So there’ve been a number of questions.

Can my wife go? Can my children go? You’ve got to have a valid visa and you have to apply for an exemption. Um, but that’s an automatic, you know, it’s an automatic exemption. So, um, and then there are a bunch of sort of individual exemptions. So that’s going into Australia then coming out of Australia again, it’s by exemption.

So as a general rule, you won’t be able to leave Australia if you are a, um, If you are, uh, an Australian citizen, unless you, you, you fall into an exemption. Now, some of those are automatic exemptions and, um, and, um, you know, again, they’re sort of set out in the website, but one of the important ones that I thought I should raise, cause I think it will apply to a lot of people on the line tonight is that if we’re ordinarily a resident in a country other than Australia, then you can leave Australia.

Um, and I think quite a few people might fall into that. I handily found on the website this evening when I was researching. Cause I’d looked at this issue myself before. Um, the latest information says you’re considered ordinarily a resident in a country other than Australia. If international movement records show that you’ve spent more time outside Australia than inside for the last 12

to

24 months.

Anyway, I won’t go through everything, but I just thought that would, that would be a good framework for understanding, um, who sets the rules and how, and just hit some of those, uh, broad questions on, on, um, can we move between the United States and Australia? So with that, Josh, I’ll hand back over to you.

America Josh: No, thank you again. And thank you. Uh, again, ambassador Cooper, Katrina for joining us this evening and helping out on the perspective of the government and the embassy. And also, uh, in Washington there, you did mention at one point there are lots of websites and lots of information available, and it’s something that you provided to us.

Um, and we will circulate at the end of this, uh, webinar, we’ve got a big list of URLs and websites that will really help people out so that they know exactly which website they should be going to. You know, there’s the department of home affairs and as immigration and all sorts of different websites that are relevant to what we’re talking about tonight.

So we’ll be sure to circulate that and information from all the panelists as well. Um, that might, that might help out, um, Katrina, you mentioned, uh, the visa applications and passports, the operations of the embassy. Are they all still continuing as per usual? Can people still contact their, their embassies and consulates and get visas for partners from the U S for example, to get back to us?

Yes, they are. Yes. So, yeah, that’s basically just the normal process. They can go to the embassy website and find all the information in there.

Ambassador Katrina Cooper: Yes. And of course, bearing in mind, it’s not normal time. So doing things with a lot of lead time than you normally, what is important. And perhaps the other thing that will be on people’s minds of course, is availability of seats on, on flights.

And so. How many people can go into Australia was determined by that cabinet that I mentioned. And then each state determines how many,

uh, how

many people they can have quarantining, which in turn flows on into the cap. So, um, so, you know, there are lots of different steps to go through to get, to get back home or to get from home.

America Josh: No, I understand. And for those who are looking or if they have concerns or they want to sort of basically enroll that they do want to go back to Australia. I know. Um, there’ve been some things on social media about the high commission in the United Kingdom, um, and sort of registering for a list to people need to register for a list to go back to Australia or if they need some assistance.

Is that something that you’d recommend they have a look at, or is it.

Ambassador Katrina Cooper: Yeah, look definitely like we encourage anyway, Australians overseas to register with defect when they’re overseas. And what we find generally speaking is that in countries that, uh, easy to travel and live in the United States or the UK or New Zealand, people tend not to do that.

If they’re traveling to very difficult countries, they’re more inclined to do that, but we always encourage people to, to, um, to register. So we would definitely do that. And, um, There is, yeah, there is, there is a list of, you know, registering people to who want to go home so that we can help to monitor, you know, what the demand is.

Um, and also, you know, particular circumstances of people. So definitely would encourage people to go into the Australian embassy website and register.

America Josh: No. Fantastic. And that information does that just out of interest is the embassy sort of communicate. I mean, I imagine you do with Canberra, uh, but you know, to feed into those bits of information and feedback from the people you speak to on the ground.

So people do speak to you that sort of helps the process with sort of reviewing things in the future. I realized that you’re not directly attached to that, but that’s something that you provide to Canberra.

Ambassador Katrina Cooper: Well, in a general sense, every time we have, uh, a Cancilla client, which is an Australian who needs some assistance, um, and they call us up for help.

We, we have a system whereby we log it. So we, you know, we track it all the way back, um, uh, past a passport inquiry. We don’t consider, uh, you know, a consular matter. It’s not an Australian distress. It’s just a general inquiry. Um, Uh, but, um, certainly if there are consulate issues, we track those. And of course, you know, that that list of registered people, we, um, you know, we, we do keep, um, you know, that is available for, for, for, you know, government back home to see.

So we can, we know how many people are there and what sort of circumstances they’re in, et cetera.

America Josh: No. And I think that really helps just so people know that it’s worthwhile registering for those things. As you said, it’s worthwhile registering with DEFAT and we will make sure that, uh, that everyone has those resources that we’ll send out at the end of the, uh, at the end of the webinar.

Thank you. Uh, this is a great chance to introduce Zjantelle , who is the principal of Camus Markel, uh, an immigration law firm based in downtown New York. The city and one familiar too. I’m sure many Australians in the United States. Chantel, thank you so much for joining us tonight and providing your insight.

I know. I know a lot of the questions we had submitted around the recent round of changes to prevailing wages and updates from the department of labor and Homeland security, which we will absolutely get to shortly. Don’t worry everyone. Um, but I wanted to start by asking, you’ve done a lot of interviews.

You’ve done a lot of these, uh, webinars and created a lot of online content, uh, for Australians in the United States in the last six months. Do you want to give a little bit of a top level summary of just the kind of things that you’ve discussed that we might not be going into too much detail tonight?

Zjantelle Cammisa Markel: Absolutely. So, you know, they’re like Katrina. I did look over all of those questions and there were so many that were related to immigration and a lot of them, we have covered before in some videos and some written articles there, they’re all, you can find them all on our website. And so I wanted to list what they were so that if you are, if you did ask a question and you’re watching, you know, that you will be able to get the answer hopefully, or closely to your answer, um, for, uh, going to go through those.

So. Previously we had spoken about terminations, furloughs, reduced pay. Um, can you apply for unemployment insurance? Um, just all the time or even in 60 day grace period ways to be able to stay in the us, uh, after your employment has ended. Um, even beyond the 60 day grace period. Working from home, remote working and posting notice requirements.

If you have to file an ULCA related to that extending visas and changing employers, we’ve also spoken about Tibet end, renewing the visa through an I one 29 in the U S versus concealer processing at a consulate abroad and the differences between the two. And to the end on that, we also talk about. How you are CIS, um, looks at the specialty occupation, um, when you file an I one 29 and then, and that you need to anticipate potentially getting a request for evidence, otherwise known as an RFP on that.

And we’ll come back to that with the updates that we’re going to be talking more about Josh. We’ve spoken about the mailing process to mailing. If you’re in Australia, you can mail in a renewal. If you’re renewing in the same visa category. Um, we’ve spoken about visa appointment, cancellations, merger, unsee appointment requests.

Uh, we’ve spoken about long dated Arnone for boys. And can you just stay in the U S and file and LCA, and just keep working on a non long dated on 94, we’ve spoken about the PR all the presidential proclamations. Um, USDA is processing times, uh, filing fees, COVID-19 related travel restrictions and exemptions, the DB lottery 2020 update, which was some good news.

That’s that’s been and gone now. Um, and also, um, always the thing I always come back to Josh, you know what it is just, uh, the importance of always checking your 94 all the time. After every entry to the United States. Even if you’ve been here a while now. Just always check that.

America Josh: Now it is one that we’ve mentioned a number of times before.

And again, we will provide a link to check your own on 94, which is the date that says, you know, when you have to leave the country, it’s something that’s very important for everyone watching. If you’ve never heard of it, then start looking into at the end of this webinar, uh, and read those resources that we send.

Um, that’s a huge amount of content. And again, yeah, we’ll circulate those bits of information and links to those. So if people have questions around those topics, they can find those answers. Um, you mentioned visa canceled, uh, Visa appointment cancellations, uh, in embassies and consulates us embassies and consulates.

And I know you’ve touched on it before, but do we have any information about, you know, when consulates will be sort of more open or more available to get, uh, appointments for new visas? Wish

Zjantelle Cammisa Markel: I had a crystal bowl there. Um, so the consulates, you know, they’re, they’re open and they are operating. They’re just not operating the way we used to, um, previous to COVID and they’ve kind of continued to operate the way that we’ve seen them since they reopened in around June.

And we saw that they were granting emergency appointments. That’s pretty much continuing. So we’ve noticed that regular appointments is still getting canceled. The regular appointments for November in Australia recently got canceled. So the, really the only appointments that are really sticking, uh, the emergency appointments.

And, uh, we we’ve spoken about how you can do that, which is, you know, booking a regular appointment and then escalating it. Um, into an emergency appointment through reasons through your employer, personal reasons that you’ve got family or other emergent reasons of why you need to an emergency appointment.

Um, we have seen a couple of consulates that had, um, kept regular appointments while there’s not many. There were two that we had. Which was Bern and Paris where the regular booked appointment went through. Although those they’re rare. And also what both of those are in Europe. What we all want to also notice with those is that because people can’t really travel back unless you’re a permanent resident or us citizen.

Um, if you’ll just on any three combat to the U S you can’t readily fly back from Europe or Shingon country right now. So. To Berlin and Paris, both approved. What’s called the national interest exemption. And I E for the, the two clients that interviewed there and put that in their passport. So they were able to actually fly directly back to the U S even though they’d be in a Shingon country in the last 14 days.

So they didn’t need to reroute through. Mexico or another country first. So on that note, um, we’ve seen that, uh, some of the consulates in Europe that were other concerts that we’ve tried in Europe, some of them won’t even entertain an emergency appointments. Um, the government did say to them, look, you need to entertain the emergency appointment just because people can’t fly directly to the U S right now.

And there’s that travel ban. You need to. Consider, whether they might call quiet for national interest exemption. And if they might then grant them an appointment. So I’ll give a quick anecdotal story. We had, we’ve got, had a client in Athens for a while since the summer, and he had a baby there. And so we’ve been looking at autos doing a lot of Senator Byrd or powders.

So, you know, but he really wants to do it in Athens. So we try it again. Said to Athens. Okay, great. You know, can you please get an emergency appointment? He said, they said no, because he can’t travel directly to the U S from a machine gun country. So we’re not even going to appointments. So then we did it a back way.

So we got the national interest exemption through CBP, um, first and then came back to Athens and said, well, actually he has a national interest exemption. Now, will you go into an appointment? And just this morning they came back and said, yeah, we’re going to go into her appointment October 2nd. I mean, not November 2nd.

Sorry. So he’s thrilled. And so sometimes you just got to be creative and push a little harder and, and see if you can get something that you really want, even if it seems like it’s not, might not immediately be possible.

America Josh: Yeah. And I think that’s exactly what, uh, yourself and immigration lawyers are especially good at.

They know exactly what can and can’t be done. So they, you, you can provide that assistance to people, which is very helpful in these crazy times. We also got a lot of questions around, uh, green card allowances, because I know some people are maybe stuck outside the country and they’re wondering, you know, are they allowed to stay outside due to COVID have there been considerations made?

Is there anything you want to add about that?

Zjantelle Cammisa Markel: Yeah. So I think with the brain card and staying outside the U S there’s two things that you need to consider. We actually did a lot of this in a triple-A our last AAA update. We did a whole section and there’s slides. So if you need, if this is your issue and you really want more in depth, you could go to that one.

But the, in a nutshell, um, there are two issues when you’ve got a green card and you’re outside the U S one is preserving just the green card. And the other one is, do you want to be able to preserve your ability to also apply for us citizenship? So you’ve got to consider how important that is to you. If applying to for us, citizenship is really, really important.

Um, then what I say is trying to come back. To the U S at least every 190 days, don’t let a trick. Don’t be outside of the U S more than 180 days at a time. So six months, if you, and I’ll come back to the reason for that, if you’re just presenting your grand card, you can be out of the U S up to 365 days a year after a year, they, they can, can.

Dean you two have abandoned your green card. However, what will happen is when you come into the us with your green card, the officer might say, well, it looks like you’re not here anymore. We want to take away your green card from you. They actually can’t do that. They can’t take away your green pad. You can say, I don’t know, actually I didn’t.

The only reason I couldn’t come back was because of COVID they went, you know, this was, and I think here is where COVID. Will help in this instance, um, as an excuse, because then they are not allowed to take it from you. So don’t give it up and they will have to, if the officer wants to pursue trying to take your grandkids from you, then we’ll have to set up a court date for you.

And you can then go, go in front of the immigration courts to fight for your green card. So, and I’ve seen many people that have been out more than a year and still be able to come back. With their green card. Um, so don’t freak out if that’s your scenario, but what is more important there is that if you want to qualify for citizenship, there were two requirements.

When you qualify for citizenship, there’s a physical presence requirement and a continuous presence requirement. Physical presence is that, um, you have to be here for at least 2.5 years after the last five years or 1.5 years out of the last few years, depending on how you qualify spaces should be. If you go going back, had three marriage or.

Alternate routes. Um, and then there’s a continuous presence thing. And the continuous presence requirement requires that you have not made a trip outside the U S that lasted more than six months at one time. And if you break your continuous residents, then you have to start your time period to qualify for citizenship all over again.

There’s a grace period between six months and a year. So if you can’t make it back in six months and it ends up being closer to a year, there are some exemptions that you can try and fight to say, I wasn’t trying to abandon my green card. And I, you know, that they list the reasons that qualify to, for you to get over that, which are that you’ve left relatives here.

You’ve got still property here. You’ve got a job that’s still here, you know, in many times still here, but once you hit that one year, Mark, you definitely break that continuous residence requirement. And so if you were. Fight, you know, you were close to becoming qualified for citizenship. Um, through being here, you know, the last four years you have to recount start all over again and you won’t be able to apply for citizenship until four and a half years away.

Or three is away if you got your green cutthroat marriage. So that’s the more important thing if you had, if you’re concerned about citizens getting, becoming a us citizen, it’s something that you really want to think about. Maybe talk to an immigration lawyer about if you just want to preserve your green card for now, then if you stay up to where you should be fine.

And if it goes over a year a little bit, it should not be a big issue during this time. No,

America Josh: that’s good to know. And again, immigration lawyers, they can help you and they can put your mind at ease about all sorts of topics. Uh, like these ones, uh, gentle mentioned, uh, I, 90 fours, and we were talking about that before and not overstaying and making sure that you’ve kept within the limitations of what you’re allowed to do.

So this is a perfect time to introduce Josh angstrom travel expert from Liberty travel. Uh, Josh. Thanks. Another Josh, thanks for joining the panel tonight. And I’m sure many have seen your comments on Facebook and helping people out. So thank you very much for that, for those who do want some contingencies moving forward, you know, people might’ve heard what Zjantelle was just talking about and wanting to make sure that they’ve planned far enough ahead.

And what, what do you recommend at the moment? What the flights look like right now and how far ahead of people planning to get their travel?

Josh Engstrom: Yeah. At the moment, I suppose there’s a couple of things that really I’m aligned to make it really difficult for people to get home. Um, we’ve got a bottleneck, um, of travelers trying to get into Australia, um, which has made it incredibly difficult.

Uh, we obviously have the cats, um, on flights. Um, so only a certain amount of people that are allowed to get into Australia at the moment, have a flight per day. Uh, airport. Um, and then I suppose there’s also Christmas and the new year. Um, obviously people are a lot more interested to try and get home during that period to be with friends and family.

So at the moment it’s making it incredibly difficult

for people to get home.

And I would suggest that people need to be planning, uh, around three months in advance, um, of when they’re due to fly or whether they want to fly, start looking at booking. Then if you leave it too late, Uh, you’re going to be on the left with business class flights.

Um, and obviously not everyone has the means to shell out such a large amount of money.

America Josh: Okay. Well, it’s good to know. I mean, we’ve talked a fair bit about that before and the idea that, uh, Like making sure you plan ahead and making sure you’ve got some contingencies. And I think one of the things that you’ve Josh and I have done a few videos before, and we’ve talked a lot about having some wiggle room.

So making sure that you’re, you don’t have strict dates, you where, you know, everyone’s got particular things that they need to get back for. And there are lots of, lots of different examples that we had sent through and they’re important. Absolutely. But it’s making sure that you give yourself as much time as you possibly can.

Josh Engstrom: We did, we did get a lot of questions, um, about when borders are going to be opening. Obviously there’s a few places in Australia that are more tricky to get into at the moment. Um, a lot of questions were revolving around when can I get back in? How long do you think quarantine is gonna last for obviously once you get to Australia?

That’s only half the journey. You then have to go through two weeks, orienting and whatnot. Um, so a lot of our questions and I will be answering those as well, everyone. Um,

so we did get a lot of travel questions as well. Um, we’ll be posting that up, uh, on next week’s blog, um, that Josh and I do together, I’ll I’ll tabulate and put all the answers into those questions, but

yeah, I mean, It’s extremely difficult at the moment, but there’s, you know, a few fail, safe ways

that consistently,

especially for my situation, I’ve been helping people now for eight months, uh, get back to Australia.

Um, so there’s a couple of things. Um, Uh, uh, measures that you can take to make it a lot easier and a lot less stressful on yourself. So, uh, booking three months in advance is one making sure that you’re using trusted airlines, that we are seeing consistently get into Australia without bumping passengers.

So in America, that’s American airlines, United airlines and Delta. Uh, and we also of course, um, Particularly when we start looking at December flights, I’m very happy to announce that and New Zealand, uh, look to now be offering a route

from, uh, the U S

back

into Australia by Auckland. So that’s, that’s some good news.

America Josh: Okay. And what about to, is that for all? Like what about Perth, for example, are there some special considerations that should be made there?

Josh Engstrom: Yes. So, uh, Perth at the moment is one of the most difficult, uh, cities on the planet to get into, uh, it’s incredibly difficult. Um, but I do have some good news there.

Um, I have been able to find flights now, um, going back into pers. Um, via our Asian hubs of Singapore and Hong Kong.

So that’s with the airlines, Cathay Pacific and Singapore airlines, respectively, uh, from the West coast, um, heading into Asia then into Perth. So I haven’t seen a flight available to be booked into Perth in about two months.

So that’s great news for people. Um, unfortunately it is February, March, um, when I can see those flights. So it’s nothing. In October, November, December, or January. Um, so for people in earth, uh, and this probably goes for people in Melbourne as well. Uh, you’d be using Sydney as your destination city to do your parenting.

And then after your 14 day quarantine, you’d, then be heading over to your, um, your city.

America Josh: Okay. Um, and Zjantelle mentioned, uh, like travelling into Schengen zones and back and forth between the U S for example, uh, what resources do you recommend that people should use to just make sure that they’re checking if they’re going to move themselves around, are there any particular resources that you recommend.

Uh,

Josh Engstrom: my go to, and one that I use daily is, uh, I are to travel mat. So I order is the main organization internationally that looks after all air travel. And, um, they’ve been around for a really long time and they’ve posted a COVID travel map of the world. So it’s really easy to then look at the country.

You’re looking to go into click on that. Uh, part of the map and it will give you all of the travel regulations to get into that country. Uh, and also all of the possible bands of getting into that country and then all of the exemptions. Um, so that’s a map that I use every day, uh, for work. And I’ll definitely be, uh, posting that again, uh, in the blog, um, that we do next week.

Um,

just so that people have, uh, access to that again. It’s really?

America Josh: No, it is. And I, I think one thing that we need to just flag to make sure that people keep it in the forefront of their mind is that citizenship and where you reside and go residency, uh, two different things. So you might hold an Australian passport, but you reside in the United States, right?

That is especially relevant. We’re looking at things like eye artist’s website, just because it doesn’t always matter where you’re sort of from. So holding an Australian passport, doesn’t always matter. It might be that you’ve lived in the United States and that will be a big impact for where you can travel.

So it’s important just making those, uh, those recognitions between those two ideas, because I know.

Josh Engstrom: And that talks to, uh, having enough ammunition, uh, from as many sources as possible. Uh, before you go jumping in to make those big travel decisions, it’s an incredibly difficult landscape at the moment. So everyone has to be as informed as everyone.

Uh, and I think this is the place for all of us tonight. Um, it’s all about our being as informed as possible.

America Josh:  100% on that, uh, residency. It’s a perfect time to introduce Jason stock, the CPA uptrend advisory. Jason is another one of those legends that pops up all over the internet and answers questions when people have some tax concerns, especially as we head into tax time each year.

Um, but I want to start there, Jason, because residency, I think is something that, I mean, you talk about a lot and we’ve spoken about it a lot, you know, including personally. Um, but. I just wanted to touch on sort of broadly at first, how does residency impact, uh, people’s taxes in a normal time, and then I’ve heard of tax treaties and things, and sort of, how does that relate to what we’re hearing tonight?

Jason Stoch: Yeah, definitely. Thanks, Josh. Um, absolutely like your tax residency is probably the most important factor when determining how to prepare and file your taxes. So, um, as you said, citizenship does not equal residency when it comes to tax purposes. So to be, you know, a resident for tax purposes, you either need to have an immigration intending visa such as a green card or have passed.

This test called the substantial presence test. And what that test is, is it’s a physical presence test in the us or in Australia. So if you have physically been in either country for 183 days of that year, you would be. Determined to be a tax resident of that country in the us, their offer the tests that can be applied such as looking back and probably it’s to see how much time was spent in that calendar year.

But at a high level punter in the 83 days is the magic number for both

countries.

So. On that note due to COVID Australia does have some relief from that test. So, you know, if you’ve been living in America and you’ve gone back to Australia temporarily, you can, um, kind of get away from that test and still maintain non residency in Australia.

If you can prove that you usually live overseas in the U S permanently and as soon as possible, you’re able to get that, um, you know, it’s due to COVID. One thing I would suggest is that, you know, you might need to review your residency if you’re being in Australia for a lengthy period of time. And if you don’t plan on going back to the U S but that’s something I’d recommend, you probably chat to your accountant about, just to make sure for your personal situation, your residency is clear because you don’t want to be dealing with that, uh, ambiguous transition rate period where you’re not sure which country you’re a resident in.

Um, but. Outside of that, going back to, you know, normal taxes, assuming it’s a non COVID situation. Um, you know, when you’re a resident for tax purposes in either country, you would be taxed on your worldwide income. America likes to take this a step further and make it a little bit difficult that they also want you to, um, declare your foreign assets and, uh, things, you know, if you have a proprietary limited in Australia, if you’ve got a trust, if you’ve got bank accounts, if you meet certain thresholds.

So, um, again at a high level Australia, Texas, you on your worldwide income, America does it well as well, but America also wants to find out more about what you’ve got in terms of assets.

So. The next thing is that tax treaty, which, you know, Josh, she did share Australia and America do have a tax treaty between both countries that prevents double taxation, which is great.

There are a lot of, a lot of other countries that do not have that tax treaty with America. So how that works is. Let’s say you’ve paid tax in Australia, on your investments, such as a rental property, whatever tax you’ve paid to Australia. When you state that rental property on your American return, you will be able to also state a foreign tax credit for what you’ve paid to Australia already to offset whatever America wants to calculate on that rental income.

And the exact inverse would apply. If you’re a tax resident of Australia and you have American. Sources of income when you’re stating that American income on your Ozzy return, you’ll also get a tax credit to claim for what you’ve paid to America.

America Josh: Uh, and, uh, I know for me, taxes are not my forte and I, I think it’s important to like see that while there are treaties and there are considerations, it is not always that easy.

And, uh, Jason, you and I have talked before about, you know, filing it’s important that you do it properly and have someone that is aware of your international position, because it does change a lot from sort of a regular us citizen, uh, just living in the us and a regular Australian citizen living in Australia.

That they’re very different scenarios. What about if someone moves? And so we, you sorta touched on this a little bit, but if someone moves and now resides in Australia, can they keep working for their us employer? Is there a, is there a time limit or, you know, at that point where things become an issue?

Jason Stoch: Yeah. So this, this is one of those really interesting topics because it completely depends on. Um, firstly what visa you’re on and also what type of arrangement you have with, you know, your American company. So even if you’re staying on as an employee and you’ve moved back to Australia, your employer may not be used to dealing with that type of situation.

So, um, they might continue to withhold federal and state taxes for you. So where this can create an issue is. You know, fully Australian, if you’re know, let’s say for example, this Australian was living in California before they moved back to Australia. Um, your employer might still be withholding California taxes, even though you’re not living there.

So what that creates is when you’re doing your us tax returns, you suddenly have to do a California return and. You need to apportion your income between what was California source from when you were living there versus what you earned from Australia. So that way you’re not paying that California tax on all of your income for the whole period.

So that’s just something you want to make sure you understand, because you know, you don’t want to be overtaxed another option. You know, that also depends on the relationship you have with your employer is. To potentially not be an employee and switch to being a contractor. So what that would mean is your employer no longer withholds taxes.

So that means you don’t have to worry about them withholding California taxes, going back to that example, but it creates responsibilities for you. And that responsibility would be, you would need to make sure you’re withholding from what you’re being paid, because your employer is no longer doing that and that you’re making your payments to the IRS for your federal taxes.

So there’s definitely a cost to this, even though it sounds like a great option because. Suddenly you’re paying self-employment taxes. So this is definitely something to take into account when discussing pay structures and options, if you’re going to be in Australia and working for your American employer.

So again, this at a very high level is going to be completely it’s different for everyone, but definitely something, you know, you should talk to your immigration lawyer about and talk to your accountant about because there might be some restrictions.

America Josh: Perfect segue, Jason, thank you. That leads me back to you Zjantelle

Uh, we get asked a lot about those legal requirements and Jason covered off the tax element, which I think is especially important because you could be paying other way too much tax or not enough tax or not declaring in the right spaces, but for an Australian who’s still working for a us employer or, or wants to work for a us employer from Australia.

Is there any issues from a visa or an immigration standpoint?

Zjantelle Cammisa Markel: Good question Josh. So to work, if you’re going to work in Australia and outside the us, you do not need to have a visa that’s still valid. And with your S employer, the visa is to be able to work for your employer from within the U S what becomes the bigger issue and what I always say to people that ask me that question is.

It’s not really, it’s not a problem. Immigration wise, it’s more of a problem, you know, tax wise. So, you know, that’s where Jason is critical in that conversation. Um, and similarly to, for, um, the other question that we get is, well, I’m here and I lost my job. In the U S can I just work from within the U S for an Australian company, and then just get paid into an Australian bank account?

Well, first of all, you, immigration wise, you can’t do that. So you can’t just work in the U S for a company in Australia, you would need that company would need to set up an entity in the U S response to you unless you had an EA D. You were the spouse 23 and you have any ID or green card, then it’s not an issue, but, but being here, you know, on, in B status or Esther, or if three, from a different employer and then working for some company in Australia and getting paid in a shred does not work.

Um, and then the other considerations that, you know, then I would refer back to Jason on with respect to that scenario is also, you know, you, if you did have an EAD or a green card and you can, from an immigration standpoint, Point work in the U S for a company in Australia, then you’ve got to think about, well, I’m then going to become a us tax resident because of this decentral presence, tests that Jason was talking about.

So again, um, whenever you’re working. If for you as employer abroad or a, uh, and I get the same question for, can I work in Mexico? Can I work in Barbados for a while for my us employer? Well, sure. But immigration wise, they don’t need to be easier to do that. That’s that’s not a problem, but you need to check both on, you know, are you going to become a tax resident of that country?

And more importantly, are you a Valium or breaching any immigration laws of that country that you planted to go to? Um, so critical if you’re in that situation, shelter with your accountant, someone like Jason who’s in abreast of both Australia and the us and your immigration attorney.

America Josh: Yeah. And I think Jason touched on it just a second ago as well, about how, you know, we have a tax treaty with Australia in the U S, which is fantastic.

So you don’t double pay taxes, but that doesn’t exist everywhere. So you can’t just, uh, kinda just move yourself and hope for the best. So, um, Zjantelle, that leads me to, uh, The sort of the big changes that we had a lot of questions about this, uh, for this webinar around the changes from department of labor and the department of Homeland security.

So, um, I want to make sure we give this, uh, the proper focus that needs. So let’s start with the prevailing wages changes that came out from the department of labor and the implications of that. Can you give us a bit of a summary, please?

Zjantelle Cammisa Markel: Yeah. So that was a little bit of a whirlwind. Um, so on October 6th, we got a final interim role that was published saying that on October 8th or the prevailing wages are going to jump by about 30% into like the 47th percentile for those wages.

So, um, you can imagine in our office on October 7th, Cause the, they came out in the night on October 6th, that notification to have a seventh with frantic, like filing, I’ll see other needs like as many LCS as we possibly can, although you can’t anticipate them all. Um, and while we think that there’ll be an injunction.

Right now, there are people that need to fall in LCA right now. Right? So anyone that’s in that position and we’ve got a lot of questions around this, um, who has, who had filed LCAs in the past and have gone to get their, their prevailing wage data from the OES website are seeing two things they’re seeing either their wage now has jumped by like 20 grand and, um, you know, something ridiculous.

Um, Or it might be left blank. So let’s go to, you know, you’re looking at it and now, you know, your wage that before was 55,000 and the prevailing wage was 55,000 and you were making. Let’s say 58 or 60. Um, and now the providing licensed shop to 76, it’s kind of difficult to go to your employer and say, Hey, I made a 20 pay 20 grand pay increase to renew my visa.

Um, you know, so we’ve, we’ve had a lot of clients with that dilemma. So there are some that, you know, freak out because. There are ways around this. Um, you know, there are creative ways to increase your base if you’re not far off the base. Um, so some are looking at, you know, some people’s comp total comp package is not made up of just a base salary, but prevailing wage is really looking at just the base salary.

So if you have a bonus structure or guaranteed bonus structure in your comp package, if you have commissions, you know, that are part of your comp package or certain benefits, Some things can be shifted to the base. Um, and then taken off of, you know, perhaps the guaranteed bonus, let’s say. So there are ways of being creative there.

Um, if, but what if it’s blank? Uh, so if it’s thank you, some people will have seen, you will see at the bottom, it says in red. There that there’s a $209,000 or a hundred dollars an hour to 208 K or a hundred. Uh, was an hour we’ll reach the prevailing wage. So if you have a really high salary, um, you can file an LCA at a hundred dollars an hour, if you’re part-time, um, or at the 208 K salary or above, um, and that LCA will get approved.

So not all of us are that fortunate to be above 208 K a year or a hundred. Dollars an hour. So what happens there where you know that you’re not at that rate and the other alternatives are, um, too high. So you can look to alternate wage sources. There are some that are out there. There’s on, I’m just a few of these towers, Watson BLS.

There’s the four A’s the advertising industry, us most benchmark Redford, global tech. Um, so there’s a number of them often you, unlike the OES, which the beauty of that was, it was. Free easily accessible these ones, some of them you have to pay for. Um, and, uh, particularly the industry related ones that are in your industry, you may have to pay for your employer, might have access to them already.

Um, so this is where it’s important. I think at this point to get an immigration lawyer involved, because they can sort of navigate this for you. Um, because even if you use an alternate way source, that ha that wage source needs to meet certain requirements. So it needs the data, the wage data that the wage source gathered needs to have been gathered in the last two years.

And the wage source also needs to have been published in the last two years. We, we, uh, experimented a little bit with that notion of two years and we. You used a wage data. We fall to one of the way, shout it from 2019 one from 2019, because we had the four A’s from 2019 for an advertising client. We said, let’s see if this will work.

So 2019 didn’t work. So. Clearly the two years is the, is really the last 24 months. Or I would say, you know, it’s going to be published in 2019 or 2020. Um, the wave source also needs to the wage data needs to cap, cover your occupation in the geographic area that you’re going to be working as well. Um, it needs to be a close enough match.

Uh, the description of that, that way, that job. For the wage source is because stuff matched to what you’re actually going to be doing. Then the white shorts also has to have an arithmetic calculation for a mean wage. Um, those wages, I mean, I’m sorry, I just had to go that in there. Um, but, and then they have to explain how they came up with that calculation.

So it doesn’t have all these requirements, then that way your source will. Not be good and it won’t get a PR the LCA won’t get approached. So those are the things that are important to consider there. Um, other things, other options to explore here. Uh, if you have, there were some people in the situation that may have filed an additional LCA, um, because of their aunt long dated, dated , or that may have, um, filed.

And I one 29 during this period. Um, and maybe they go to an RFP and they thinking I’m going to go now, I need to constitute a process and, and. Sometimes in that situation, we would file and ULCA, but right now you can’t. Right. So, but those LCS that were filed before October 8th, those are still valid. So you can go to a console right now with NRCA that’s still valid that might’ve been.

Filed earlier, um, and not necessarily for this exact visa application, but that was filed earlier and is still valid. You can’t go abort and get that visa with that LCA. Um, similarly with one that you might’ve used for nylon 29, and on that, I just wanted to, there was a girl called Catherine that asked a question.

I thought it was a good one. Um, she asked what Eve my. I one 29 is ending more than 240 days. Do I have to believe and go to a concert and get a visa? So if it’s pending more than 200, the 240 days from when you file is half an extinction, this is not a change of employer, but just an extension allows you to keep working for that.

Same employer up to 240 days. So if you don’t leave in the consulate process, you can still remain in the country until that petition is adjudicated. However, you wouldn’t be authorized to work. So if you do want to work, um, after the 240. Days. And you don’t know when that petition is going to get adjudicated then going abroad.

Um, isn’t definitely an option to avoid a gap in employment authorization. And you can use that LCA that you use to father . That is not a problem. So, you know, there’s just, so if you are in a situation

America Josh: where you need strategies,

Zjantelle Cammisa Markel: there are ways there are strategies for sure, around, um, giving wage data, looking at different.

I see codes, different categories where your, where your. Title title is just a name for a description of job duties. And sometimes, you know, your description of job duties could fit under two different

America Josh: types of range of different things. Yeah.

Zjantelle Cammisa Markel: Data. So you could look up multiple ways data does. And so it’s definitely a game where you could not a game, but you know, you can definitely be creative and come up with a solution that works.

I won’t be able to be too freaked out by this.

America Josh: And I think that’s the best take home from, uh, from the department of labor side is that there are always ways around things. And again, I’m hopping on this, but the professionals that we’ve collaborated with here tonight are the types of people that can really make your life a lot easier.

So that’s the prevailing wage pot. Is that the same, you know, should people be worried about the department of Homeland security also changed some rules around tightening or projected to change some rules around tightening the link between bachelor degrees and the position that you’re going for. So is that sort of similar advice or is that, uh, you know, more difficult,

Zjantelle Cammisa Markel: uh, with respect to specialty occupation?

Um,

America Josh: yes.

Zjantelle Cammisa Markel: Yes. So the other problem was that they said on to narrow the definition of specialty occupation to mean, uh, That’s what I was always mean, actually. Um, which is you to be able to do this job, you need to have a degree in a specific field. And then the person has to have that degree in that specific field.

So I don’t think this is one, a lot of people are getting alarmed by it and feel like, Oh my gosh, I’m going to pop up a need for anymore. And this just stems right back to all the videos that we’ve been doing about when you fall. And I went 29 and the request for evidence USCS has already been applying this.

Standard. They’ve already been saying, especially when following the U S look, we don’t know if this is, especially if you’re really in a special patient, because you need a degree in a specific field for this and your occupation might not necessarily need a degree in a specific pill. So this is a time more important than ever to have.

And immigration lawyer, I think prepare your case to really argue that your job is a specialty occupation. And, um, most threes are prepared that way anyway. Right. So, cause that’s the argument you would supposed to be on the very beginning. Um, and now we just need to be a little bit tighter on. You know, if someone has an unrelated degree, let’s say, um, the degree equivalency is going to be more important than ever now in that people can change the major in their degree, equivalency in the United States, based on their unrelated studies together with work experience in the related field that they have.

So that’s the strategy around getting your degree to match your job and therefore hat being made that argument that, yes, I do need this particular degree for mind for this particular job. And therefore it is a specialty occupation, so it’s nothing to really be too concerned about. Um, it’s, it’s, what’s already been really happening.

America Josh: Yeah. And I, I think, uh, like it sums it up really well, is that, uh, yeah, they, they seem like big changes and they are big changes and there have been, you know, There’s been a lot said about it, but it doesn’t necessarily impact you individually. If you go through the process, like you always have there’s there’s ways around, there’s always good strategies that you can implement to make sure that you tick all the boxes that you need to.

Zjantelle Cammisa Markel: Um, Josh know, someone once said to me, fear, if you break it down into the next room, if the AI is false expectations appearing real. So a lot of the time people are like, Oh my God, I’m not gonna be able to get my visa renewed now with these, because I don’t have a special provision or I. Don’t have the right salary.

Um, remember false expectations appearing real. This is, this is not a problem.

America Josh: I think, keep in mind when, I mean, these issues are really at the front of people’s minds at the moment and ambassador cripple, Katrina. Um, I imagined a lot of these things come, you know, these are issues that you see, um, you know, the embassy sees broadly. Is that something that the embassy talks in general times talks with.

The U S about and sort of gives the input from Australia and Australians abroad. Is that sort of one of the roles of the embassy?

Ambassador Katrina Cooper: Uh, well, it, it depends really Josh. I mean, generally speaking, the laws of a country belong to the laws of a country. So, you know, the visa requirements in the United States will be, you know, managed and dealt with by the visa, by the United States.

And we don’t normally get involved just in the same way that in Australia, we wouldn’t. Expect other countries to be getting involved in our, our visa issues. But, you know, from time to time, we do depending on circumstances. And of course we have the . So you said, which is a very, um, uh, special category of visa, which was of course negotiated, um, by the United States, in the Australian government, um, when we were negotiating the FTA.

So that was actually an outcome of government to government negotiation. So, you know, these aren’t normally visas in the country in which we’re operating are normally sort of part of our day-to-day business, but from time to time, Uh, w we do deal with them, but I have to say fantastic to listen to that rundown of Zjantelle and that here, that expertise on us visas and, you know, for Australians to know where to go to get that sort of information, because it is really complicated,

America Josh: For sure. And I think these things are going to impact a lot of people. That are watching tonight. So it’s important, you know, as much as they’re not necessarily dire and it’s not the end of everything for your visa, if there will be impacts, uh, Jason, um, that leads me back to you. And if people are starting to think back, or if they’re realizing that, you know, it might be their time to move back to Australia, what should their considerations be?

What should they start planning?

Jason Stoch: Yeah, so this, this is one of those things, again, that is going to have to be thought through on a case by case basis is everyone’s situation completely different in terms of age, relationships, goals, and things like that. But if, if you are planning on moving home, the main thing that I would recommend is that you speak to, you know, either a financial planner and or an accountant who understands both.

U S taxes and Australian, Texas. Um, especially because most often when you’re moving, you’re going to be considering selling assets, moving money, keeping assets. And, um, it’s important to understand what those implications are from all of those options. So, you know, that key point of gain, um, That I hopped on earlier about that can actually be used as a tax minimization strategy is your residency.

So you can actually be a bit strategic with when you decide to sell things or move things. Um, based on, you know, when you’re a resident in one country and a non-resident in the other. So, you know, an example is. You know, if you were to have a us house, like you own a property in the U S and you sold it while you’re a non-resident of Australia, you’re only dealing with that on your us tax return, as opposed to having to deal with it on the us taxes, as well as the Australian taxes and both countries have different capital gains tax treatments.

So that’s just a little thing that you can, um, Or a little example that you can use and the same logic would apply. So the inverse situation, when you’re moving to Australia to the U S from Australia, um, there are other, you know, considerations with retirement funds, you know, such as 401ks or super that you should think about.

If you’re going to make the move. Uh, I have a bunch of clients that are 401ks that are considering drawing them down while they’re non-residents in Australia or, um, holding on slim and. Drawing them down at retirement age. It all just depends on what you want to do, but there are tax implications, um, for both perspective.

So, um, you know, I would rarely recommend that you set yourself up for success and you go speak with someone who understands both sides of that coin and ensure that you have all of your bases covered from a tax perspective, as well as a wealth management and preservation perspective so that, you know, there are no surprises.

America Josh: And it sounds very similar to what we talked to Josh, Josh about before, about having sort of some plans on the horizon and making sure that you’re keeping that in mind. So on that Josh, you know, what, if people we’ve talked a little bit about it before, but if people are planning to move back to Australia, what should they be thinking about?

What should they be doing? You know, w what do you want to let people know? Definitely

Josh Engstrom: I’d say that at the moment. It’s, um, very difficult to find any economy seating for flights. Um, so if you are looking at, um, getting the most cost effective way home, I would say, um, February and March at the moment are going to be the dates where you are going to be able to find some economy seating.

Um, We did talk about it before, but there is quite a big bottleneck of a lot of Australians trying to get home for Christmas. Um, and at this stage, the. You know, the time is ticking and people are starting to, um, really struggled to be able to get any seats, homes that aren’t, um, business class. So I suppose, um, talking about those contingencies and if you are looking at, um, moving home, um, then I would definitely be planning to look and start booking your flights in February and March of next year.

Because as obviously as time then.

Those for those flights

that are cheaper now will get more expensive. It’s that

kind of cycle that we go

through for flights. Um, but I, yeah, the bottleneck is really tricky and without more planes physically going into.

To the sky, um, to take that bottleneck away, the bottleneck that I can see is, is going to continue into the new year.

Um, but I just did want to finish with a few, um, good, good news stories, um, for Australians looking to go home if that’s okay, Josh? Um,

America Josh: absolutely.

Josh Engstrom:  So I have noticed, um, X L a to Sydney, there have been some standby, uh, economy seats on day of departure popping up. So that is the people obviously. Yeah. It’s not a great help for new Yorkers because being able to be on standby.

From New York for an LA departing flight is going to be incredibly difficult. Um, but definitely if you’re on your way home and you’re, you’re perhaps working from home and your lease is up in, in the city, on the East coast. Um, maybe it is possible if you.

Desperately needing to get home that being around or close to LA for us, same day departure could be an option for some people.

I’m not saying drop everything and, and, and head off to LA and sit at the airport and wait for a seat to become available. But. I have noticed that some same day departure flights from LA, they were a few seats available and they were for as little as $1,200.

So I just wanted to put that out there as some good news that I have seen, because I haven’t seen prices that low in a really long time.

Um, So for all of my brothers and sisters in Perth, like I said before, um, we’ve got flights coming back again in February and March. Um, so that is also some good news for us. Um, Melbourne. Uh, no good news for you guys yet. Um, but I can, um, I feel it, I feel it, I feel like some flights to Melbourne are coming and that they’re on their way, so don’t give up hope.

Um, I would imagine that very soon, we’re going to get an announcement without knowing that we are or not. But I would imagine, um, particularly with the case load of COVID being. Relatively low now for Victoria for that to open. And that would be great. Um, we’ve got the Australian government tear flights from the UK and from India, um, flying into their base in the Northern territory.

I believe it is outside of Darwin. Um, this is great news for us in North America, although we can’t easily and talk, get on those care flights, hopefully that, um, they’re doing them in 500% swings. So hopefully that helps to kind of break up some of that bottleneck that we’ve got in the U S. That hopefully we can now take some of those cats, um, that were previously used for people in Europe and India to get back into Australia.

So that’s good news. Um, and then finally I did touch on it before, um, but any Zealand, um, in December are starting their roots from, um, the West. It has to be USA via all going back into Sydney. And I do have. Um, some itineraries, um, then going through to Brisbane, um, which is awesome news. Um, and then, uh, with Melbourne, when those lights start resuming, I would expect, uh, you to be able to connect through Auckland, to go back, um, with air New Zealand too.

So it’s not all doom and gloom for flights. Uh, we do have some good news stories and, um, Just from my own personal experience have sent home hundreds of Australians now. So, um, it’s important to realize that, although we do hear some bad press and bad stories of people trapped overseas by and large Australians are managing to get home.

America Josh: No, and I think that’s a really a really positive message. And I think we’ve heard from all of our panelists, not that there are ways around there are ways forward. There are, it’s not all doom and gloom, as you said, there are, there are strategies that can be implemented Katrina as we finish up today. Uh, I just wanted to give you a chance or anything that you’ve heard, uh, sort of tonight or that sort of surprised you or anything you’d like to add.

Um, you know, for the things that you’ve heard over the last few months from Australians, Yeah.

Ambassador Katrina Cooper: Thank you, Josh. I think, um, all of the panelists have sort of, um, underlined, I think that, um, planning is so important. There’s no real magic bullet. And I don’t think there is anybody who has all of the answers to all of these difficulties and, you know, we are operating in a global pandemic, so.

In some ways that, you know, that’s, uh, that’s just a very difficult situation that we all have to deal with. Um, the other thing I think that all the panelists have underlined and I would too, you know, that the information is moving constantly. As you know, we’re looking at it from an Australian government decision-making process around you’re traveling between States, you know, traveling from countries into Australia and out.

So, um, uh, that’s why the information is in different places. So if you’re traveling into Victoria or you want to traveling to Victoria, you know, you’d need to be looking at the, the, the Commonwealth government website, but also the Victorian government website. I know that’s, um, you know, that means more places to navigate, but, uh, partly that’s because the information is constantly changing.

So I would suggest that if you’re planning to travel home or back the other way, you know, Put aside a few hours to go through all of the different steps that you will need to take, um, including your travel, you know, whether you’ve got tax implications and so on, so that, um, so that it becomes less stressful for you.

And if you do have any queries on visas or on passports, please do reach out to the Australian government. We get back to you very, very quickly to the embassy, sorry, in DC.

America Josh: No, thank you again. And, uh, I think that information is all available, as we said, and we will be sharing all of that information that you provided.

Um, and there have been even recently as Friday, some reviews done of the whole process and making sure the information is as present as possible to everyone who’s overseas. So I think we’ll see over the coming weeks and months that it will become easier and easier for everyone to access the information that they, they need.

Thank you very much to all of our panelists tonight. Ambassador Katrina Cooper, the deputy head of mission Australia and embassy, Washington, DC Zjantelle committer Markel from mr. Markel, Josh angstrom from Liberty travel and Jason stock from uptrend advisory. And thank you very much to ambassador John Berry.

Uh, the president of the American Australian association, again for partnering with America, Josh tonight, and all the hard work that, uh, the, uh, American Australian association has done over the last weeks and months, because it is difficult. Making sure that this information is out there in the community is taken care of.

I’m sure there have been lots of questions that you’ve been facing, and it’s good to see that, uh, you know, we’ve got a good community abroad and we will continue doing events like this and making sure that you’re informed at every turn that we can, because. Organizations like mine, America, Joshua, and the American Australian association and all of the professionals.

But you’ve got his night along with the embassy are all there to support you. So make sure you head to the websites that we send you. You can find me at America, josh.com, where I write articles and newsletters and host events like this and fun ones for ex-pats living abroad. We’ll also be sending out.

And I know I’ve said this a few times, but tomorrow you will get an information pack with a whole lot of information that should help you out. And answer some of the questions and each of the panelists will, there’s, there’s a lot of answers to the questions that we specifically got that they’ll try and touch on and give you some action points and some tools that you can really use going forward.

So thank you very much, everyone for watching tonight. We hope we’ve answered some of your questions and we’ve presented as much information as we possibly can. And you’ve got some steps to take. We will be sending out a feedback form as well to make sure that you’ve told us what you thought and, uh, make sure you have an opportunity to ask some questions of the panelists or give some feedback about how the event went.

Um, and we, cause we want to hear from you. We want to make sure that this is as effective for you as it is possible. So thank you again very much to all of our panelists and thank you for watching at home and good night.