Australia's minister of immigration Andrew Giles has officially announced that Novak Djokovic's Australian visa ban has been lifted.
Djokovic, a 21-time Grand Slam champion, was detained in Melbourne in January this year for failing to comply with Australia's vaccination requirements. 10 days later, following a lengthy court dispute, he was deported.
The deportation came with a three-year visa ban, casting doubt on the Serb's ability to compete in the 2023 Australian Open.
However, Immigration Minister Giles, whose government took power in May, has overturned the visa ban and made the official announcement via a press release.
“On 14 January 2022, the then Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs made a decision under section 133C(3) of the Migration Act 1958 (the Migration Act) to cancel the visa of Mr Novak Djokovic on public interest grounds. A subsequent challenge to that decision was dismissed by the Full Federal Court which found that the decision was not affected by legal error,” the statement read.
“Following the cancellation of his visa, Mr Djokovic sought revocation of the cancellation decision in accordance with the Migration Act. After considering all relevant factors, the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, and Multicultural Affairs the Hon Andrew Giles MP decided to revoke the cancellation decision under section 133F(4) of the Migration Act. The power under section 133F(4) may only be exercised by the Minister personally. A decision to cancel a visa under section 133C(3) may be revoked if the person satisfies the Minister that the ground for cancelling the visa no longer exists. A decision to revoke a visa cancellation does not mean the original decision to cancel was affected by error,” it further stated.
“Since the cancellation of Mr Djokovic's visa in January 2022, all COVID-19-related Australian border restrictions under the Biosecurity Act 2015 have been removed, including the requirement to provide evidence of COVID-19 vaccination status to enter Australia,” the statement added.
“Mr Djokovic has subsequently been granted a temporary visa to enter Australia,” it concluded.
“I want to go back there, do what I do best, hopefully have a great Australian summer” – Novak Djokovic on his Australian visa ban being overturned
Novak Djokovic was ecstatic to hear that his Australian visa ban had been lifted. Speaking at his post-match press conference after defeating Andrey Rublev in the ATP Finals, Djokovic stated that it was a relief and that he couldn't have asked for better news.
"Well, of course, I was very happy to receive the news yesterday. Yeah, it was a relief obviously knowing what I and people closest to me in my life have been through this year with what happened in Australia and post Australia obviously. I could not receive better news for sure - during this tournament as well," he said.
"Of course, knowing that I have clarity now, what I do in the off-season, starting the season in Australia, also of course it did relieve some of the pressure me and my team felt. Just giving that clarity makes it great for us. Australian Open has been my most successful Grand Slam. I made some of the best memories there. Of course, I want to go back there, I want to play tennis, do what I do best, hopefully have a great Australian summer," he added.
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