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More than 100,000 Aussies granted travel exemptions during pandemic

Despite the Federal Government’s ban on international travel, more than 11,000 Australians are getting permission to head overseas each month.

Data obtained by 9News under FOI laws reveals there 105,028 travel exemptions approved for people to leave Australia between March 25 and December 31, 2020.

Reasons include lengthy overseas trips, business travel and family matters.

More than 40 per cent (43 per cent) of exempt travellers intended to depart from Sydney, followed by Melbourne (29 per cent), Brisbane (13 per cent) and Perth (9 per cent).

The most successful reason for an exemption was an intention to stay overseas for at least three months (51,793 exemptions approved), followed by compassionate and compelling grounds (31,091 exemptions approved).

Compassionate and compelling grounds included the death or serious illness of a close family member and parents travelling for surrogacy, adoption or picking up a child from overseas.

More than 100,000 travel exemptions were granted for Australians wanting to leave the country during the pandemic.
More than 100,000 travel exemptions were granted for Australians wanting to leave the country during the pandemic. (Louise Kennerley)

Urgent and unavoidable personal business was the third largest category, with 11,686 exemptions granted, while critical industries and business travel secured another 8963 exemptions.

Urgent medical treatment not available in Australia (882 exemptions), response to the COVID-19 outbreak (438 exemptions) and national interest (175 exemptions) were the smallest categories.

The number of people travelling overseas is likely to be larger than the number of exemptions approved, as once issued they can be repeated if the reason for travel hasn’t changed.

Source: 9News | World News

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