The federal government decided to cancel Novak Djokovic’s visa because it was “in the public interest to do so”.
Novak Djokovic’s participation in the 2022 Australian Open is in doubt, to put it mildly, following Federal Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s decision to cancel his visa.
While Djokovic is expected to appeal the decision and could technically still end up playing, that’s a slim chance at best.
Mr Hawke used his powers under Section 133C (3) of the Migration Act to revoke the world’s number one visa, citing “health” and “good order” grounds.
After an unfavorable decision under this part of the Migration Law, the person concerned cannot obtain a visa while abroad for a period of three years.
So if Mr Hawke’s decision stands up to judicial review, Djokovic could also be banned from playing at the 2023 and 2024 Australian Open.
Fear not, Djoker fans, because there is room for an exception to be made for him.
The three-year ban may be lifted in certain situations, including compelling circumstances that affect Australia’s interests, or humanitarian circumstances that affect the interests of an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
Obviously, Djokovic is not an Australian citizen or resident. So next year, or 2023, he would likely petition the government arguing that his presence at the Australian Open would help the national interest.
“Djokovic can turn to the government to ask for the ban to be lifted for compelling and humanitarian reasons. I imagine if he wants to play at the Australian Open next year, he can apply, ”former deputy secretary of the Immigration Department Abul Rizvi told The Project on Friday evening.
“I suspect the minister would probably allow it. ”
Mr Rizvi also spoke at length about the likely next moves of Djokovic’s legal team.
“They’ll be looking for two things, I think,” he said.
“One, to argue the question on legal grounds. Second, ask the judge for permission to release Mr. Djokovic on a transitional visa to allow him to participate in the Australian Open.
“It’s a decision the judge is expected to make over the weekend.”
There is, however, an additional complicating factor. Such a transition visa would generally not allow the beneficiary to work.
“Playing tennis, some people may not think of it as work, but it is Mr. Djokovic’s job,” Mr. Rizvi said.
“(The judge) should also consider these issues, if he obtains work rights with the transitional visa. This is a question the judge will consider.
“If he thinks Mr. Djokovic’s argument is valid, it makes sense to release him on a transitional visa while the appeal is considered.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, in a statement after Mr Hawke’s decision was announced, stressed that the Covid pandemic had been “incredibly difficult” for every Australian but people stood together.
“Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic, and they rightly expect the outcome of those sacrifices to be protected. This is what the Minister is doing by taking this step today, ”said Mr. Morrison