COVID-19 has created a chaotic background to an already rapidly changing Australian immigration landscape. The Department has introduced several concessions to visa holders and applicants in response to the chaos.
It can be challenging to keep up with these changes, so here's a summary of the current COVID-19 concessions for your reference.
1. Family Visas - Parents
Parent Visa (subclasses 103, 143 & 173) lodged offshore can now be granted inside Australia, provided that:
The application was lodged in Australia before 24 March 2021, and
The applicant was in Australia on 24 March 2021
Parent Visa (subclasses 103, 143 & 173) applicants who lodged their visa inside Australia can now be granted a bridging visa, provided that:
The application was lodged in Australia before 24 March 2021,
The applicant was in Australia on 24 March 2021, and
The application has not been finalised.
Sponsored Parent (Temporary)(subclass 870) visa extension
Now there is a Visa extension for holders of a (subclass 870) visa who were outside Australia on 1 July 2021. No further action is required. The extension is automatic.
2. Family Visas – Partners and Children
Specific Partner and Child visas that were applied offshore can be granted in Australia.
Partner (subclass 309), Prospective Marriage (subclass 300), Child (subclass 101) and Adoption (subclass 102) visas can now be granted in Australia. Provided however, in addition to standard requirements, the applicant:
Must have been in Australia during the ‘concession period’*
*Concession period commenced on 1 February 2020 and will end at the Minister’s discretion (to be advised).
3. Skilled Regional Visa Concessions
Subclass 489, 491 and 494 visas are extended by three years for those visa holders affected by COVID-19 travel restrictions. Those affected includes:
Visa holders that were outside Australia between 1 February 2020and 14 December 2021
Compliance with visa conditions 8539 and 8549
The 8539 & 8549 conditions are attached to 489 visas, requiring visa holders to live and work in a regional area. The conditions can now be waived in certain circumstances, namely:
The visa holder has lodged a subclass 887 visa application either:
a. before the expiry of their initial subclass 489 visa, OR
b. after their initial subclass 489 visa expires, but before their extended 489 visa expires.
Subclass 887 visa application concessions
Applicants that were outside Australia during the concession period* can apply inside or outside Australia, but must:
Provide evidence of at least 9 months work experience in a specified regional area; and
Have resided in a specified regional area for 18 months (offshore applications) or 2 years (applications inside Australia)
4. Temporary Graduate Visa (485) concessions
There are two concessions available to subclass 485 visa holders/applicants:
485 replacement stream (available from 1 July 2022). Applicants may be eligible for a replacement 485 visa if:
They were outside Australia between 1 February 2020 and 15 December 2021, and
Their original 485 visa expired on or after 1 February 2020
Current/ previous 485 visa extensions
On 18 February 2022, a large cohort of 485 visa holders had their visa automatically extended to 30 September 2022.
Further, a number of previous subclass 485 visa holder whose visas expired between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021, have had their visas reinstated and extended to 30 September 2022.
5. Business and Innovation and Investment (Permanent)(888) visa.
Concessions are now available to subclass 888 visa applicants in various streams.
Subclass 888 (Business Innovation and Significant Investor streams)
Applicants may now apply for a subclass 888 visa if the applicant’s subclass 188 visa expired during the COVID concession period* (and up to 3 months afterwards).
Subclass 888 (investor stream)
When applying for a subclass 888 (investor stream), applicants may withdrawn funds from, or cancel their designated investment, provided:
The change to the designated investment was during the COVID-19 concession period,
The applicant has been in Australia for a minimum of 2 years, and
Held a subclass 188 visa that was granted before 1 July 2019.
More information about COVID-19 visa information, vaccination and travel, and other COVID-19 related border issues, go to the Department’s website.
Photo by Adam Niescioruk on Unsplash
The information provided in this article or anywhere on this website is of a general nature, it does not relate to your specific circumstance. This general information must not be used to form any assessment or opinion on individual visa eligibility. For an individual assessment contact us for a consultation session to confirm if you are eligible for any visa.