22 September 2020
New Covid-19 Concessions for current visa holders
To allow for flexibility in uncertain times, The Australian government has implemented changes to the Migration Regulations which give concessions to current visa holders who have been adversely affected by the Cv-19 pandemic. The concessions apply to the following visas:
- Skilled Regional 887
- Temporary Graduate 485
- Safe Haven 790
- Business Innovation and Investment 188/888
Concession Period: 1 February 2020 until further advised (the end date is flexible due to the nature of the pandemic).
Skilled Regional 887
The concession allows visa holders or former provisional visa holders (whose visas expired during a concession period) to apply and be granted Subclass 887 visas whilst outside Australia during a concession period.
There are also concessions for the residence and work requirements:
- A visa applicant will be taken to have lived in regional Australia for six months (or a longer period if specified by the Minister) if the applicant was outside Australia during a concession period and made the application during the said period; and
- The requirement for full-time work in a specified regional area is reduced from one year to 9 months (or a shorter period if specified by the Minister) if the applicant held a provisional visa during a concession period and the application is made no later than three months after the end of the concession period.
Skilled Graduate Visa 485
The concession allows applicants to apply and be granted the Subclass 485 visa whilst in or outside Australia during a concession period.
There are also concessions in relation to the time of application requirements:
- Allowing offshore applications during a concession period without the usual requirement to have held a student visa within the six months immediately prior to making the application.
- Extending the period of time to meet the Australian Study Requirement (ASR) from six months to 12 months for applicants prevented from returning to Australia due to COVID-19 travel restrictions during all or part of the period commencing on 1 February 2020 and ending on 19 September 2020.
- Allowing applicants that made an offshore Subclass 485 visa application during a concession period to be granted the visa in or outside of Australia and regardless of whether the concession period has ended.
This is great news for International students who may be affected by ongoing or future travel restrictions. They can now apply for a Subclass 485 visa from outside Australia during a concession period, and can do so within six months of satisfying the ASR.
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