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I just read that Australia has passed a law that makes it illegal for citizens to return home from India.

Is there absolutely no way to do it? Can't the embassy in New Delhi assist in some way? I assumed the government would arrange some kind of quarantine with rigorous testing in approved and monitored facilities before and after a chartered government flight to get citizens home or something.

But it seems they won't do that? Australian citizens are simply not allowed to return home, even if they found a way? I always assumed that a state can never reject its own citizens, which is why I assumed Australia would go for the forced quarantine option in government facilities.

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    A state wont reject its own citizen, which is why this is a criminal matter with fines and jail time rather than deportation - a state can still penalise its citizens for an action its made illegal, just dont conflate that with any rejection of entry. Australia doesnt want to deal with the influx that allowing arrivals from india would entail. – Moo May 1 at 21:19
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    What's your goal? Travel freely, or avoid getting COVID? As a practical issue, you may be better off "holing up" isolating in India and waiting it out... than running all over the place talking to 100 different people about lining up an expatriation flight, actually visiting the airport and the flight, etc. You don't get COVID from statistics, you get it from interacting with other humans. Isolate like Heisenberg in New Hampshire and you cannot get COVID. Amazon delivers in India. – Harper - Reinstate Monica May 2 at 19:26
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    @Jake as we have found in NZ with the deliberate breach of the Tasman bubble by a traveller who left Perth while under lockdown, flew to Sydney and then to NZ, it heavily depends on the traveller not being deceptive. Punishment for infringements mean that people think twice about travelling from country A to country C and then to country B to circumvent a travel ban between countries A and B. – Moo May 3 at 0:16
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    @Harper-ReinstateMonica their goal is probably to go back home in a difficult time, which is a very valid goal that does not warrant scolding. The fact that Australia has made headlines all over the world for punishing its citizens for trying to go back home supports my statement. And of course, staying in India carries a much higher risk of getting covid than going back home, so your comment does not really apply. – wimi May 3 at 7:37
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    @wimi for interest - you may not realise the CV19 situation in NZ and Australia. NZ is CV19 free except for incoming cases and Australia is much the same with occasional community bursts as incoming cases cause community problems. Passengers on a recent incoming flight from India were certified CV19 free and a large majority subsequently proved to have CV19. The situation in India at present is utterly dire and the risks to the whole populations in Australia and NZ warrant extreme measures if CV19 is not to be admitted. | For interest - where are you located? – Russell McMahon May 3 at 12:07
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They can spend 14 days in another country and then return, but that becomes increasingly difficult with travel restrictions.

Australian citizens are simply not allowed to return home, even if they found a way?

That's why the laws threatens with fines and jail terms. They will not be sent back if they somehow reach Australian soil.

Is there absolutely no way to do it? Can't the embassy in New Delhi assist in some way? I assumed the government would arrange some kind of quarantine with rigorous testing in approved and monitored facilities before and after a chartered government flight to get citizens home or something.

I am not sure if you are asking if there is no way for the government to do it or the affected citizens and residents. For the government, it is sovereign and can decide to provide such facility or not, subject to possible consequences on its international reputations or internal approval. Why they choose one way or another is not a question suitable on Travel.SE.

For the affected citizens and residents, once the proposed measures take effect, it is not legally possible for them to return.


Additionally, even if the international law requires to different degrees that citizens have a right of return, it is not really enforceable unless the country incorporates the right in domestic law (e.g. Canada, even then it's subject to limitations, but at least the court would carefully examine the case), although in some cases other countries where the citizens of the country denying the right of return currently are may protest. Australia apparently does not have a direct incorporation of a right to return in its constitution, though legal challenges on other grounds can take place but it is not clear and will take some time.

Plus, it doesn't prohibit countries making reentry very difficult or very expensive.

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    Oh, ok, I see. So if they found some way to leave India, then spent 14 days in another country, then somehow managed to get to Australia, then they wouldn't be prosecuted. – Fiksdal May 2 at 7:13
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    Note that prohibiting citizens returning home isn't entirely new; several European countries have tried the same with people accused of travelling to Syria to join or even fight for Islamic State. – gerrit May 2 at 8:22
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    The lack of a quarantine system is pretty stupid, but the people who complain about this want the border to be completely open, which is also pretty stupid. – user253751 May 2 at 11:09
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    @user253751 I am not understanding your comment. I thought that Australia did have a quarantine system. (Not Australian so I am probably mistaken.) – emory May 2 at 12:31
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    @Emory Australia does have a quarantine system, but it is not open to people travelling from india, only from countries with lower Covid levels – Richard Tingle May 2 at 15:16

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