The COVID-19 pandemic and associated travel restrictions have caused chaos and confusion with Australian migration applications. The Australian Government has been working through the complexities caused by the pandemic and has now introduced the Migration Amendment (COVID-19 Concessions) Regulations 2020 (Regulations).
The Regulations commenced on 19 September 2020 and provide concessions to ensure that temporary and provisional visa holders, including individuals who are on a pathway to permanent residency, are not disadvantaged by circumstances beyond their control.
These concessions apply during the ‘concession period’ which commenced on 1 February 2020 and currently has no end date. At this stage, concessions have been announced for the below visa subclasses.
Skilled Regional Visa (Subclass 887)
Eligible subclass 887 visa applicants can make their application and be granted a visa while outside Australia during the concession period.
Concessions to employment and residence requirements are available as outlined in the table below.
Temporary Graduate Visa (Subclass 485)
Applicants may be in or outside Australia when making their application during the concession period.
Applications made outside Australia during the concession period will not need to satisfy the requirement to have held a student visa within the six months immediately before making the application. The requirement will be extended to having held a student visa in the past 12 months between 1 February 2020 and 19 September 2020.
The visa period will run from the date of entry.
Business Innovation and Investment Visas (Subclasses 188 and 888)
A number of concessions have been introduced for holders of the provisional subclass 188 visa, including those whose visa has ceased during the concession period. These concessions apply to the continuous operation of eligible businesses, the ability for some significant investors to withdraw funds from a complying investment, and the ability to obtain a two-year subclass 188 extension. There is also the ability for some former holders of a subclass 188 to reapply even though their visa has expired.
Concessions also apply for those applicants applying for the permanent subclass 888, including the requirement to reside in Australia for a minimum period of time.
The subclass 188/888 concessions are complex and apply differently to the business innovation and investment visa streams.
If you would like more information about the concessions or require assistance understanding your options, please contact our migration team.
Author: Rebecca Macmillan
The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this newsletter is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.