Concessions For Visa Applicants Affected By COVID-19
On 19 September 2020 Immigration introduced a new Migration Amendment allowing concessions for certain visa holders and applicants. The Amendment changes some of the standard requirements for 485, 887, 188, 888, and 790 visas, giving options for those who have been affected by COVID-19.
These changes apply to visa applications made on or after 19 September 2020
Immigration has introduced a 'concession period' during which the below concessions apply. This period is taken to have started on 1 February 2020 and currently has no end date. One will be announced in future.
485 Graduate Temporary Visa
International Graduates who have been stuck overseas due to border closures now have a clear pathway to apply for a Subclass 485 Temporary Graduate visa from outside Australia.
Applicants can also have their visa granted while in or outside Australia, and will have a visa validity from the date of entry to Australia, rather than the date of grant. Applicants who lodged their applications prior to 19 September 2020, but are now offshore, can still have their 485 granted while overseas.
In addition, If the applicant was outside Australia during all or part of the period commencing 1 February 2020 to 19 September 2020, they:
- Have up to 12 months from course completion in order to apply
- Do not need to have held a Student visa within the last 6 months
887 Skilled Regional (Permanent) visa
Like the graduates, Immigration will allow applicants converting to the Subclass 887 visa to apply while outside Australia and also to have their visas granted while overseas. This includes primary applicants and their dependents.
- Currently hold any of the eligible provisional visas can apply from in or outside Australia
- Previously held any of the eligible provisional visas, and the visa expired during the concession period, can apply from outside Australia
- Currently or previously held an eligible provisional visa, have been stuck overseas, and who apply from outside Australia during the concession period can count 6 months of time spent overseas towards the 2-year residence requirement
Finally, the one-year work requirement has also been reduced to 9 months for those who held an eligible provisional visa during the concession period, and who apply no later than 3 months after the concession period ends (currently no end date).
888 Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visas
Former primary and secondary Subclass 188 visa holders whose visas expired during the concession period will now be able to apply for the Subclass 888 visa as long as it is lodged no more than 3 months after the concession period ends (currently no end date).
Amendments have also been made to the Investor and Significant Investor stream to allow for withdrawal or cancellation of certain investments during the concession period.
188 Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visas
Former 188 Business Innovation stream visa holders will be able to apply for a 188 Business Innovation Extension stream visa provided their original 188 visa was granted before 1 July 2019, and the new application is lodged no more than 3 months after the concession period ends (currently no end date).
Applicants who held a Subclass 188 Business Innovation Extension stream visa granted before 1 July 2019 can now apply for a second Extension stream visa, lodged no more than 3 months after the concession period ends (currently no end date).
790 Safe Haven Enterprise Visa
During the concession period, current and former SHEV holders will be able to count periods of time where they:
- Received Special Benefit payments;
- Were unemployed; or
- Worked outside a SHEV regional area in an essential service specified by the minister (no definition currently available)
towards the 42-month requirement to waiver Section 46A of the Migration Act and allow them to apply for a different type of visa.