The Australian government has introduced significant legislative amendments to its Migration Regulations that will come into effect on 19 September 2020.
As per a statement issued by the Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge, the “COVID-19 Concessions’ are being introduced to limit the impact of the pandemic on visa holders stranded outside the country.
They have been brought in to allow individuals to continue on their visa pathway if they have been disadvantaged by COVID-19 border closures, business restrictions or the economic downturn”
COVID-19 Concessions – Key Highlights
- Australia introduces major COVID-19 visa concessions for certain temporary and provisional visa holders
- The COVID-19 concession period commences from 1 February 2020 and is an interim arrangement.
- Major amendments have been made to Temporary Graduate (485) and Skilled Regional visas (887)
Amendments to (Subclass 485) Post-study workstream:
On July 20, Minister Tudge announced that graduates affected by COVID-19 travel restrictions would be able to apply for and be granted a Temporary Graduate visa outside Australia “where they have met all the requirements”.
In simple terms, applicants will now be able to lodge their applications offshore, and those who meet the requirements will be granted a post-study work stream visa, while they remain outside Australia.
This would also mean that successful applicants will be able to return to the country once the travel restrictions lift without having to worry about the duration of their visa grants.
Other key changes to the regulations affecting 485 visa applicants stranded by COVID-induced restrictions include:
- Applicants will no longer be required to have held a student visa within the six-month period immediately before making the application.
- The period to meet the Australian Study Requirement (ASR), which is the period between completing the course and lodging the application has been extended from six to 12 months.
Amendments to Skilled – Regional visa (Subclass 887)
In another major respite, COVID concessions to lodgement and eligibility requirements will also be available to prospective Skilled – Regional visa (subclass 887) applicants where they meet the following criteria:
- Eligible prospective subclass 887 visa applicants can make their visa application outside Australia during the concession period and be granted the visa while they are outside Australia.
- Applicants outside of Australia who lodge during the concession period are given access to shorter employment requirements and shorter residence requirements.
This should assist greatly as prior to this change, applicants were required to be in Australia and hold an eligible visa at the time of filing a subclass 887 visa application.
The Australian Immigration Department has introduced this concession period, with the period to have started on 1 February 2020. The concession period currently has no end date. One will be announced in future.
COVID-19 Concessions – Are You Impacted?
Are you impacted by the latest COVID-19 Concessions? We’d love to hear from you.
Let us know about your migration journey during these COVID times using the comments section below.