Australians Are Exempt From Trump’s Travel Ban, Turnbull Says

  • English says he’ll be checking up on status of New Zealanders
  • White House has sought to reassure Canada, U.K. over rules

Australia has joined Canada and the U.K. in being exempt from the Trump administration’s immigration ban on seven Muslim-majority nations, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.

American officials have told the embassy in Washington that Australian dual nationals remain welcome in the U.S., Turnbull said Tuesday. Separately, New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English said in a radio interview that he’s not aware of any of his nation’s passport holders being affected by the ban.

Australians “remain welcome to come and go to the United States in the usual way,” Turnbull told Sky News. “We have a very strong relationship with the United States -- we work very closely with them. We have very strong relations with the new administration and we’re very engaged.”

President Donald Trump’s clampdown, which temporarily bans most citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia from entering the U.S., has fueled a global backlash. Allies from the U.K. to Germany condemned the move, while major international companies said it threatened to choke the free flow of workers. 

“The impression I get is that the policy’s unclear, but we’ll be checking up on that,” English told Radio New Zealand. “It’s our expectation that if someone’s traveling on a New Zealand passport then they’d have that exemption.”

Turnbull declined to comment on the policy, saying it wasn’t in Australia’s interests for him to run a commentary on the domestic affairs of other countries. The U.S. is Australia’s key strategic ally.

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Britain’s Foreign Office said it had been assured the immigration ban didn’t apply to U.K. nationals traveling from the seven countries, even if they had been born there. Canada said it had been told its citizens and permanent residents would be allowed to travel to the U.S.

Like the U.S., Australia is a nation built on migration and has many citizens who are also nationals of the listed countries. Among them is Iranian-born Sam Dastyari, a lawmaker in the upper house Senate for the main opposition Labor party. He told the Age newspaper on Monday that members of the Iranian-Australian community were shocked and saddened by Trump’s decision.

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