Novak Djokovic has won his appeal to remain in Australia after his visa cancellation was 'quashed'.
The World No 1 is set to be released from detention, where he had been held after he was held at the border following his arrival last week - although the government may attempt to cancel his visa a second time. If so, he could be banned from the country for three years.
Immigration minister Alex Hawke is now considering his next move.
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A spokeperson for Hawke said: “Following today’s Federal Circuit ... determination on a procedural ground, it remains within immigration minister Hawke’s discretion to consider cancelling Mr Djokovic’s visa under his personal power of cancellation within section 133C(3) of the Migration Act. The minister is currently considering the matter and the process remains ongoing.”
Djokovic had been granted a medical exemption by the local state government to compete in the Australian Open, but federal border officials deemed that he didn’t meet the entry requirements. All foreign visitors to Australia must be either fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or have a medical exemption.
The case had become a hot political issue in Australia, where the decision to grant Djokovic a medical exemption had infuriated many after months of lockdown and strict social distancing measures.
Ahead of the appeals hearing, Djokovic’s lawyers have submitted court documents showing that the top-ranked Serb tested positive for the coronavirus on December 16 and had since recovered, which was the basis for him getting a medical exemption.
Judge Anthony Kelly has ruled that it was "unreasonable" to cancel Djokovic's visa and the star's passport and personal items were returned to him immediately. At one stage, Judge Kelly asked, "What more could this man have done?"
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Following the ruling, government lawyer Christopher Tran suggested that Australia's Immigration Minister Alex Hawke could consider a second notice of cancellation of Djokovic's visa.
The Serbian could then face a ban of up to three years from entering Australia should the minister take that decision.
However, Mr Hawke's failure to make a decision within four hours of the verdict means Djokovic is free to leave the detention centre.
A decision to cancel can still be made in the coming days.
Australian Open organisers had previously confirmed Djokovic's medical exemption was granted following a "rigorous review process" involving two separate independent panels of medical experts.
But after Australian Border Force declined the world No. 1 entry to the country, the Serbian superstar was moved to the Park Hotel ahead of his appeal.
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