Biosecurity rules extended to student and temporary work visa holders

This content was published on Monday 4 January 2021. There may be more recent updates available.

New penalties will apply to travellers from 1 January 2021, who don’t declare high-risk biosecurity goods at the Australian border.

Australia’s biosecurity laws protect the health and safety of Australia’s community, economy, agricultural industries and natural environment from pests and diseases introduced from overseas.

All travellers must accurately declare certain food, plant material and animal items to prevent the introduction of diseases such as the African Swine Fever and Foot and Mouth Disease into Australia.

From 1 January 2021, strengthened penalties will apply to student and temporary work visa holders who fail to correctly declare high-risk biosecurity goods at airports and seaports.

Visa holders who do not meet their obligations could face heavy penalties such as fines of up to $2,664. For serious or repeat breaches, visa holders could even have their visa cancelled and be sent home.

High biosecurity risk items include un-canned meat or live plant material. Materials will be identified on arrival at Australian international air and sea ports.

It is critical to remain vigilant so that unwanted pests and diseases do not enter Australia and we protect the health of Australians, the environment and our agricultural industries.

Implementation of the strengthened framework will place emphasis on educating travellers on biosecurity risks and their obligation to comply with legislation.

Any decision about whether to cancel a student or temporary work visa will take into consideration factors such as impact on Australian business interests, links to the community and consequences for the individual.

Information will be displayed at air and sea ports to educate travellers about biosecurity risks, the changes to penalties and their obligations to comply with Australia’s biosecurity laws.

What to do

Student and temporary work visa holders should: