Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Judge Anthony Kelly found the cancellation of Djokovic’s visa by the border officials as unreasonable, the BBC reported. The judge ordered Djokovic to be released within 30 minutes of the decision.
Australia’s Ministry of Home Affairs must now pay Djokovic’s cost as agreed or assessed and return all his belongings, including his passport, “as soon as reasonably practicable,” the order added.
The Serbian world number one, who had been held in detention since Wednesday after Melbourne airport officials decided he did not provide a valid medical reason for not being vaccinated, is now cleared to compete in and try to defend his Australian Open title.
However, Chris Tran, the Australian government’s lawyer, said that the immigration minister might consider cancelling Djokovic’s visa again. Under the country’s immigration laws, the minister has powers to cancel visas for any reason. Tran did not mention on what grounds the government might cancel the 34-year-old’s visa again.
Djokovic could be banned from entering Australia for three years if that decision is made, the judge noted.
The nine-time Australian Open champion had argued he did not require proof of vaccination, which is required for all non-citizens as part of the country’s strict coronavirus entry rules, as he had acquired COVID-19 last month. Australian medical authorities have permitted a temporary expemtion for the vaccination rule for those who have tested positive for the infection in the last six months.