Australian Visa Extensions

The government announced the automatic extensions of validity of the following visas for holders impacted by the border closures.

Temporary Graduate Visas – Subclass 485

Subclass 485 visas validity has been extended to 30 September 2022, even those that have expired between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021.

The eligibility criteria for the extension are that the main applicant must:

  • have been outside of Australia at any time between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021;
  • holds or have held a subclass 485 visa which was in effect during that time which has ceased, or would have ceased, before 1 October 2022;
  • not have had the visa cancelled; and

not have been granted another substantive visa.

Skilled Regional Provisional Visa- Subclass 489

Subclass 489 visas validity has been extended for three years from the expiry date even those that have expired between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021.

The eligibly criteria for the extension are that the main visa holder must:

  • have been outside of Australia for any length of time between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021 inclusive; and
  • holds or have held a subclass 489 visa during that time,
  • not have had the visa cancelled.

Skilled Regional Provisional Visas – Subclass 491 and 494

Subclass 491 and 494 visa holders have their visa validity extended to eight years instead of five years.

The eligibly criteria for the extension are that the main visa holder must:

  • have been outside of Australia for any length of time between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021 inclusive, and
  • have held a SC 491 or 494 during that time; and
  • have held a visa that was in effect on 18 February 2022; and
  • not have had the visa cancelled.

It follows that the visas for family members are also extended.

Removal of work restrictions for student visa holders

The Prime Minister announced on 13 January 2022 that the Commonwealth had lifted the 40 hour per fortnight work limitation placed on international students.

The only information available at this time is through media reports and Ministerial media releases. Further details on how this arrangement will operate are currently not available.

As legislative change will be required to implement these changes and therefore readers should be reminded that until such time, they must abide by the conditions of their visas and if you work in breach of their student visa conditions there may consequences such as visa cancellations.

Note: The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.Please contact us and one of our experts will get in touch with you promptly.

Replacement of expired subclass 485 visas.

It is anticipated that a new stream will be added to this visa subclass in addition to the existing streams; the temporary graduate and post study stream. The new stream to be named “COVID-19 replacement stream”. It would allow those subclass 485 visa holders impacted by the Australian travel restrictions and could not stay in Australia for the full period allowed by their previous Temporary Graduate visa, to apply for a replacements.

The new stream is planned to be rolled out in middle of 2022. The main eligibility criteria, to be confirm in due course are:

  • currently hold, or have held a Temporary Graduate visa that expired on or after 1 February 2020; and
  • have been outside Australia at any time between 1 February 2020 and 1 December 2021.

The visa granted under this stream would mirror the one that expired.

The visa application charges is expected to be AUD1680.

Note: The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances. Please contact us and one of our experts will get in touch with you promptly.

Travel to Australia for Temporary Visa holders

From December 1, fully vaccinated eligible visa holders can travel to Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption.

A full list of the 28 eligible visa holders is available on the Home Affairs website:

Subclass 200 – Refugee visa
Subclass 201 – In-country Special Humanitarian visa
Subclass 202 – Global Special Humanitarian visa
Subclass 203 – Emergency Rescue visa
Subclass 204 – Woman at Risk visa
Subclass 300 – Prospective Marriage visa
Subclass 400 – Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa
Subclass 403 – Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (other streams, including Australian Agriculture Visa stream)
Subclass 407 – Training visa
Subclass 408 – Temporary Activity visa
Subclass 417 – Working Holiday visa
Subclass 449 – Humanitarian Stay (Temporary) visa
Subclass 457 – Temporary Work (Skilled) visa
Subclass 461 – New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship visa
Subclass 462 – Work and Holiday visa
Subclass 476 – Skilled – Recognised Graduate visa
Subclass 482 – Temporary Skill Shortage visa
Subclass 485 – Temporary Graduate visa
Subclass 489 – Skilled – Regional (Provisional) visa
Subclass 491 – Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa
Subclass 494 – Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa
Subclass 500 – Student visa
Subclass 580 – Student Guardian visa (closed to new applicants)
Subclass 590 – Student Guardian visa
Subclass 785 – Temporary Protection visa
Subclass 790 – Safe Haven Enterprise visa
Subclass 870 – Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa
Subclass 988 – Maritime Crew visa

Bridging Visa holders are not included on the list, however the advice from the department has been sought about the status of those visa holders. Also there are others who are already exemption outlined on the department website: Travel restrictions and exemptions.

Note: The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Update to the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List

The Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List was update in June 2021. The new list contains 41 occupations.

  • Chief Executive or Managing Director (111111)
  • Construction Project Manager (133111)
  • Accountant (General) (221111)
  • Management Accountant (221112)
  • Taxation Accountant (221113)
  • External Auditor (221213)
  • Internal Auditor (221214)
  • Surveyor (232212)
  • Cartographer (232213)
  • Other Spatial Scientist (232214)
  • Civil Engineer (233211)
  • Geotechnical Engineer (233212)
  • Structural Engineer (233214)
  • Transport Engineer (233215)
  • Electrical Engineer (233311)
  • Mechanical Engineer (233512)
  • Mining Engineer (excluding Petroleum) (233611)
  • Petroleum Engineer (233612)
  • Medical Laboratory Scientist (234611)
  • Veterinarian (234711)
  • Orthotist or Prosthetist (251912)
  • General Practitioner (253111)
  • Resident Medical Officer (253112)
  • Psychiatrist (253411)
  • Medical Practitioners nec (253999)
  • Midwife (254111)
  • Registered Nurse (Aged Care) (254412)
  • Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency) (254415)
  • Registered Nurse (Medical) (254418)
  • Registered Nurse (Mental Health) (254422)
  • Registered Nurse (Perioperative) (254423)
  • Registered Nurses nec (254499)
  • Multimedia Specialist (261211)
  • Analyst Programmer (261311)
  • Developer Programmer (261312)
  • Software Engineer (261313)
  • Software and Applications Programmers nec (261399)
  • ICT Security Specialist (262112)
  • Social Worker (272511)
  • Maintenance Planner (312911)
  • Chef (351311)

Changes to the Australian Citizenship Test

From 15 November 2020, the Australian citizenship test will change. The updated test includes revised citizenship test questions and new test questions on Australian values.

To prepare for the citizenship test a new resource booklet Australian Citizenship Our Common Bond which was published and is available for download in English – click here to download your copy. While the booklet is expected to be translated to some 40 languages, the actual test is taken in English only.

All the questions in the citizenship test are based on the information contained in the testable section of the booklet, which includes:

Part 1—Australia and its people.
Part 2—Australia’s democratic beliefs, rights and liberties.
Part 3—Government and the law in Australia.
Part 4 – Australian Values.

The booklet contains a glossary and 20 practice questions. But you can also practice online – click here.

If you are sitting the test after 15 November 2020. The test will still only consist of 20 questions, and you will still require a mark of at least 75 to pass but there will be a mandatory five questions that you need to pass focusing on Australian values.

If you need assistance with your application for Australian citizenship. Please contact us, and one of our experienced consultants will be in contact with you the soonest.

Business Visa Concessions

The Migration Regulations were changed to provide concessions to visa applicants, who are on a pathway from the Provisional Business visa to the Permanent Business visa. The amendments provide concessions about application requirements, and to visa criteria.

Before the introduction of the concessions, a provisional business visa holder was required to have resided in Australia and a provisional Visa holder before they were eligible to apply for permanent residency. Under the concessions, any periods spent outside Australia from 1 February 2020 and a future date to be yet set (concession period) are considered residence in Australia for the purpose of permanent residency applications.

Furthermore, some business investors were required to maintain a complying investment under specific rules about withdrawing or canceling investments. Under the concessions, those rules were relaxed to deem investors to have continuously held eligible investments, even if they have withdrawn funds or canceled part of the investment during the concession period.

Another concession that was introduced Provisional visa holders transitioning to permanent residency is that they could make the application even if their provisional visa had expired during the concession period, as long they do so no more than three months after the end of the concession period.

The amendments also permit provisional visa holders to extend their provisional visas if they need more time to establish a qualifying business in Australia. This applies whether or not the provisional visa held was the original or an extension and the extension could be for 6 or 8 years from the original provisional visa grant date.

For more information about the concessions or business visas to Australia, please contact us and one of our experts will get in touch with you promptly.

Delay in Implementing Changes to Post-Study Work Visa

On July 20, the government announced that graduates affected by COVID-19 travel restrictions would be able to apply for and be granted a post-study work PSW visa outside Australia if they are unable to return due to COVID-19. Of course, they would need to have met all the requirements bar the one requiring them to be in Australia to apply for that visa.

PSW visa allows international students who have completed specific Australian courses; two years live and work in Australia without any restrictions.

One of the main criteria for these visas is that applicants must have completed their studies within six months from lodging the visa applications. With the current travel restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the students who would have completed their studies just before visiting home, or were able to complete their courses online, were not able to return to Australia on time and lodge the visa application within the six months window.

In July, those graduates were promised that they would be allowed to lodge their applications for PSW visa while offshore. To date, these changes have not been implemented, and that is causing many Australian international graduates, anxiety about their future, having invested a lot of time and money to complete studies in Australia.

It is hoped that the government sticks to its word and legislate immediately to affect that promised change. If you a former student affected by the above or for information on Post-Graduate visas or any other type of visa, please contact us, and one of our experienced team members will be in touch with you the soonest.

Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List

The Department Of Home Affairs has introduced a new list labeling it as ” The Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List”. Existing skilled migration occupation lists continue to be active, and visas will still be processed, but priority will be given to those in occupations on the newly announced Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL).

PMSOL list includes 17 occupations:

  • Chief executive or Managing Director
  • Construction Project Manager
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • General Practitioner
  • Resident Medical Officer
  • Psychiatrist
  • Medical Practitioner nec
  • Midwife
  • Registered Nurse (Aged Care)
  • Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency)
  • Registered Nurse (Medical)
  • Registered Nurse (Mental Health)
  • Registered Nurse ( Perioperative)
  • Registered Nurses nec
  • Developer Programmer
  • Software Engineer
  • Maintenance Planner

At this stage, priority is given to employer-sponsored visas temporary and permanent. It is worth noting that Australian businesses wishing to sponsor overseas employees must advertise positions under strict rules to ensure that no available Australian employee could fill the position.

Those employer-sponsored visa holders currently stuck outside Australia due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and whose occupations are listed on the PMSOL can request a lifting of restriction to allow them to return to Australia and resume their positions.

If you like more information on employer-sponsored Visas. Please contact us, and one of our experienced consultants will get in touch with you the soonest.