Although Novak Djokovic’s visa was returned on Monday and released from detention, Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke can still revoke his visa and begin deportation proceedings.
While he awaits a decision on whether he can stay in Australia, Djokovic was drawn on Thursday against fellow Serbian Miomir Kikmanovic in the first round of the Australian Open.
Why was Djokovic arrested: All international arrivals to Australia are required to be vaccinated against Covid-19 – which Djokovic is not – unless they have a medical exemption. The government argued that he had no valid exemption from the requirement.
Djokovic said he was under the impression he could enter because tournament organizers granted him a medical exemption on the grounds that he contracted Covid-19 in December, had his visa approved prior to his arrival, and cleared him of quarantine-free travel.
Why did the judge rule in his favour? The judge said the government did not give Djokovic sufficient advance notice about his visa revocation or the time to prepare materials in his defense. After his arrival, Djokovic was told he would have a few hours to prepare – but the government decided to cancel his visa before the deadline it had given.
when: Djokovic tested positive in mid-December and recovered enough to receive a medical exemption from Tennis Australia on December 30, according to court documents. He arrived in Australia on January 5 and was immediately placed under arrest. He was released on Monday, January 10. The tournament will run from January 17-30.
what is happening now ?: Australia’s immigration minister can still cancel Djokovic’s visa again and initiate deportation proceedings. But it is not clear when such a decision might come. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison dismissed a reporter’s question about Novak Djokovic’s visa status at a press conference in Canberra on Thursday.
Morrison was asked why a decision had not yet been made on whether the Australian government would cancel Djokovic’s reinstated visa.
“I refer to Mr. Hook’s latest statement, and that position has not changed,” he said, referring to the immigration minister, who could still decide to deport Djokovic. “These are personal ministerial prerogatives that Secretary Hook can manage, and I do not intend to make any further comment at this time.”