Novak Djokovic wins Australian visa appeal as judge orders his release from immigration detention
Novak Djokovic is to be released from immigration detention in Australia, after the federal circuit court overturned a decision to cancel his visa.
Border officials in Australia had previously ruled the tennis star did not meet the criteria for an exemption to the requirement that all non-Australians be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
The ruling comes five days after Djokovic was detained at an airport upon arrival to the country on a flight from Dubai.
Djokovic had arrived in the country with a visa and a vaccination exemption to play in the Australian Open, which begins on 17 January, but his visa was cancelled by border officials with the support of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
On Monday, Judge Anthony Kelly said it was “unreasonable” for Australian Border Force officials to interview Djokovic on Thursday morning and cancel his visa, citing they had agreed to give him until 8.30am to speak with officials and respond to the visa cancellation.
While Monday's decision by the federal circuit court seems to pave the way for Djokovic to compete this month, the government has warned it is considering cancelling his visa for a second time.
Australian government’s counsel, Christopher Tran, said the immigration minister will consider exercising a personal power to cancel Djokovic’s visa, which would mean Djokovic would be unable to compete in the tournament.
However, the power is a severe one and would mean that Djokovic would be excluded from Australia for three years.