In addition to the recent announcement to enable fully vaccinated eligible temporary and provisional visa holders to enter Australia without a travel exemption from 1 December, the Federal Government has announced they will provide a permanent pathway for certain skilled migrants in Australia holding Temporary Skill Shortage (Subclass 482) visas in the short-term stream and Temporary Work Skilled (Subclass 457) visas who no longer meet the age requirement and have been working in critical sectors.

This is likely to benefit up to one-third of the current temporary skilled work visa holders currently in Australia and provide them with improved access to permanent residency and citizenship.

Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services, and Multicultural Affairs Alex Hawke has said that the Government has implemented this special concession in recognition of those highly skilled migrant workers who have stayed in Australia throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This change also reflects the Governments aim to address Australia’s work shortages in critical sectors in line with the National Plan.

extension of visas

The Government will extend the visas for skilled regional (provisional visa) holders (subclass 489, 491, and 494) in acknowledgment of the adverse effects that these migrants have suffered due to pandemic travel restrictions.

visa application charge waivers

A further extension of the Visa Application charge waiver for Visitor visa applications has also been announced for visa holders whose visas expired or will expire between 1 January 2022 and 30 June 2022.

international students and graduates

The Government will further support the return of international students and graduates with a number of changes that include:

  • Temporary Graduate visa holders unable to travel to Australia due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions are able to apply for a replacement visa;
  • Temporary Graduate visas in the Masters by Coursework and Vocation Education and Training (VET) streams will have an increased length of stay;
  • simplifying the requirements for Temporary Graduate visa application for VET sector graduates; and
  • extending the existing measure for student and temporary graduates to recognise time spent offshore studying online to count towards qualifying for a Temporary Graduate visa.

more updates to come

The Government is yet to announce specifically who these changes will apply to. We will provide further details as they are released.