In light of the recent “Consular State of Play 2022-23” report by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Filipino Australians are encouraged to exercise caution and preparedness when travelling, especially with the significant increase in consular cases involving Australians overseas.
The report highlights a 17% rise in non-crisis consular cases compared to the previous year, with a marked increase in various emergencies, including theft, hospitalisations, and immigration detentions. This surge aligns with the post-pandemic increase in international travel, as evidenced by the record issuance of 3.1 million Australian passports last year.
Of particular relevance to the Filipino Australian community is the significant number of consular cases in the Philippines. Last year, there were 610 cases involving Australians in the Philippines, a 4% increase from the previous year. This makes the Philippines one of the top locations for consular cases, underscoring the importance of awareness and preparedness for those travelling to or residing in the country.
The DFAT report also underscores the importance of being well-prepared before travelling. Recommendations include obtaining comprehensive travel insurance, ensuring access to sufficient funds, and registering with Smartraveller, the Australian Government’s travel advice and consular information service. The Smartraveller website offers detailed travel advice for over 175 destinations, along with essential information on passports, visas, and travel insurance. Subscriptions for destination updates are also available.
This year’s fully digital Consular State of Play report, accessible via the Smartraveller website, provides valuable insights through data infographics and case studies. It illustrates the range of support DFAT can offer to Australians overseas, as outlined in the Consular Services Charter.
The report’s insights are a crucial reminder for the Filipino-Australian community about the unpredictability of international travel and the importance of being prepared for any situation. The recent data and analysis on consular services highlight the ongoing need for awareness and caution among travellers, especially in regions with increased consular cases.