COVID-19 UPDATE
YES, WE ARE OPEN! 

Business is as usual for us and we are accessible and ready to help with your visa matter.
As the situation unfolds with Covid -19, the laws and requirements are changing almost on a daily basis. We urge all to follow social distancing measures and together we can beat this virus and claim back the life-style we all love, which makes Australia such a sought-after country to live in.
We have received many enquiries about the situation as it relates to visas, and the following may help to provide some clarity to most frequently asked questions. Please do call or email us for advice of your particular circumstances.

Overseas Visitors

The Australian Government are encouraging overseas tourists to return to their home country as quickly as possible, particularly those without family support.

It is not possible to extend a visitor visa or ETA. You must apply for a new visa before your current visa expires. If you have a ‘no further stay condition’ attached to your visa, you will need to apply to have this waived before you make any visa application.

When you apply for a new visa, you may be granted a bridging visa that will keep you lawful in Australia until a decision is made on your visa application.

The stay period on an existing visa cannot be extended. Your visa will cease if you are still in Australia at the end of your permitted stay period. If you cannot depart Australia within the permitted stay period on your visa, you should apply for a further visa before the date on which your visa ceases.

No further stay condition (includes 8503, 8534 and 8535)

If you hold a visa with condition 8503, 8534 or 8535 and cannot depart Australia as planned, you cannot apply for most other visas in Australia unless the condition is waived. You can request to waive this condition if your visa will expire in less than four weeks. If your request is approved, you should make a new visa application before your current visa expires.

Condition 8531 (must not remain in Australia beyond the period of stay permitted by the visa)

If you hold a visa with condition 8531 and cannot depart Australia as planned, you should apply for a further visa before the date on which your visa ceases. If you are also subject to condition 8503, you will need to request a waiver of this condition first.

Condition 8558 (must not stay in Australia for more than 12 months in any 18 month period)

If you hold a visa with condition 8558 and cannot depart Australia as planned, your visa will cease if you stay in Australia for 12 consecutive months at a time.

If you have been in Australia for 12 cumulative months in an 18-month period, your visa will still remain valid until the visa expiry date.

You should apply for a further visa if your visa will expire before you can depart Australia. If you are also subject to condition 8503, you will need to request a waiver of this condition first.

The Government is taking a flexible approach in relation to student visa conditions where COVID-19 restrictions have prevented conditions being met, such as attendance at class or use of online learning.

If your study in Australia is ending, and you are unable to depart Australia, you can apply for a Visitor visa (subclass 600). You need to do this before your Student visa expires.

If your course is ‘out of session’

You can work unlimited hours if your course is considered ‘out of session’. Courses are considered ‘out of session’ during scheduled course breaks or if a student has finished their course as scheduled.

If you are studying a masters by research or a doctorate course

If you have commenced studying a masters by research or a doctorate course, you may work unlimited hours.

If your course has been deferred

You can work over 40 hours per fortnight if your course has been deferred.

Temporary relaxation of working hours for student visa holders

Certain student visa holders are temporarily permitted to work more than 40 hours per fortnight to support the supply of essential goods and services for Australians if they are:

  • employed in the health sector, enrolled in a health- related course (such as nursing or medicine) and are directed by a health official to assist in the effort against COVID-19
  • employed in aged care by an Approved Provider or Commonwealth-funded aged care service provider
  • employed by a registered National Disability Insurance Scheme provider.

Can I extend my Student visa?

Under Australian migration law, it is not possible to extend a Student visa.

You need to apply for a new visa if:

  • you cannot return to your home country and your visa is expiring
  • you need more time in Australia to complete your course.

You should apply for a new Student visa six weeks before your existing Student visa expires..

If your study in Australia is ending, you can apply for a Visitor visa (subclass 600). You need to do this before your Student visa expires.

Lodging a new application before the current visa expires will give you a bridging visa to remain lawfully in Australia while all requirements are met.

I have a Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482) or Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457)

Temporary Skill Shortage and subclass 457 visa holders who have been stood down, but not laid off, will maintain a valid visa and businesses will have the opportunity to extend your visa as per normal arrangements.

Businesses will be able to reduce your hours without you being in breach of your visa conditions or the business being in breach of their employer obligations.

If you have been laid off and are currently unemployed, you should find another employer within 60 days or make arrangements to leave Australia, where this is possible.

Holders of temporary work visas currently employed in critical sectors, like health, aged care or agriculture, may also be eligible for a COVID-19 pandemic Temporary Activity Visa (subclass 408) Australian Government Endorsed Agreement Event (AGEE) stream visa.

I have a Working Holiday Maker visa

I work in a critical sector for COVID-19 (Agriculture, Food processing, Health care, Aged care, Disability care or Child care)

Working Holiday Maker visas cannot be extended. However, if you have completed three or six months of specified work in Australia, you may be able to apply for a second or third Working Holiday Maker visa.

Working holiday makers who are employed in critical sectors including agriculture, health, aged and disability care and childcare will be exempt from the six- month work limitation with one employer.

Working holiday makers employed in critical sectors who haven’t completed the 3 or 6 months of specified work required to apply for a second or third Working Holiday Maker visa, and are unable to return to their home country can apply for COVID-19 pandemic Temporary Activity Visa (subclass 408) Australian Government Endorsed Agreement Event (AGEE) stream visa and will not incur a visa application charge. This visa will allow you to remain lawfully in Australia, and continue working, should you wish to do so, until it is safe and practicable for you to return to your home country.

Visa condition 8547 — six month work limitation with one employer

Working Holiday Makers can do any kind of work during their stay in Australia, but this is generally limited to six months’ work with any one employer, unless the Department has given permission to work with the same employer for longer than six months.

Working Holiday Makers working in critical sectors, like health, aged care or agriculture have permission from the Department to work for the same employer for longer than six months, on the grounds of exceptional, unforeseen circumstances.

Other situations where Working Holiday Makers have permission from the Department to work for the same employer for longer than six months, include where the work is:

  • in different locations and work in any one location does not exceed six months
  • in plant and animal cultivation anywhere in Australia
  • in certain industries in northern Australia only
  • assisting bushfire recovery efforts.

In any other circumstanceyou need to request permission to work with the same employer for longer than 6 months.

I work in a non-critical sector for COVID-19

Working Holiday Maker visas cannot be extended. However, if you have completed three or six months of work in Australia in specified work conditions, you may be able to apply for a second or third Working Holiday Maker visa.

If you have not completed the three or six months of specified work required to apply for a second, or third Working Holiday visa because of COVID-19  and you are not working in a critical sector, you should apply for another visa to remain lawful until you’re able to return to your home country.

Visa condition 8547 — six month work limitation with one employer

Working Holiday Makers can do any kind of work during their stay in Australia, but this is generally limited to six months’ work with any one employer, unless the Department has given permission to work with the same employer for longer than six months.

In some situations, Working Holiday Makers have permission from the Department to work for the same employer for longer than six months, where the work is:

  • in different locations and work in any one location does not exceed six months
  • in plant and animal cultivation anywhere in Australia
  • in certain industries in northern Australia only
  • assisting bushfire recovery efforts.

In any other circumstance, you need to request permission to work with the same employer for longer than six months.

I have a Bridging visa A, B or C

Bridging visas A, B and C allow you to stay in Australia after your current visa expires, and while your new visa application is being processed.

Working rights

You may be allowed to work in Australia depending on your Bridging visa conditions.

If you are in a difficult financial situation and your Bridging visa does not let you work, or has restrictions on working, you can apply for Bridging visa A that lets you work. However, you will need to show that you are in a difficult financial situation.

Expiring Bridging visas

If you want to stay in Australia beyond your visa expiry date, you must apply for another visa.

I have a Bridging visa E

This temporary visa allows you to stay in Australia while you:

  • make arrangements to leave
  • finalise your immigration matter
  • wait for an immigration decision

 

Travel restrictions exemption

Expired inside 28 days

If your visa has expired, you need to apply for Bridging visa E (BVE) immediately in order to become lawful. A BVE is a short-term visa that lets you remain lawful while you arrange to leave Australia.

If you want to stay lawfully in Australia, you must apply for a new visa. Your circumstances will determine your visa options and what you must do to remain lawful. 

My visa has expired

Australia has strict border measures in place to protect the health of the Australian community. All travellers arriving in Australia, including Australian citizens, must quarantine for 14 days at a designated facility, such as a hotel in their port of arrival.

Travelers cannot come to Australia unless they are in an exempt category or they have been granted an individual exemption to the current travel restrictions.

Exempt categories

Travelers are automatically exempt from the travel restrictions and can enter Australia (without obtaining an individual exemption) if they are:

  • an Australian citizen
  • a permanent resident of Australia
  • an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident*
  • a New Zealand citizen usually resident in Australia and their immediate family members
  • a diplomat accredited to Australia (holding a subclass 995 visa)
  • a traveller transiting Australia for 72 hours or less
  • airline crew
  • maritime crew including marine pilots
  • recruited under the Government approved Seasonal Worker Program or Pacific Labour Scheme
  • holder of a Business Innovation and Investment (subclass 188) visa

*A temporary visa holder or do not yet hold a valid visa for Australia, must provide proof of the relationship (such as marriage certificate, evidence of de-facto relationship such as shared finances or property etc.) to the Department before traveling to Australia.

Individual exemptions

The Commissioner of the Australian Border Force may grant you an individual exemption if you are:

  • a non-citizen travelling at the invitation of the Australian Government or a state or territory government authority for the purpose of assisting in the COVID-19 response
  • providing critical or specialist medical services, including air ambulance, medical evacuations and delivering critical medical supplies
  • a non-citizen with critical skills or working in a critical sector in Australia
  • a non-citizen sponsored by your employer to work in Australia in an occupation on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL)
  • a non-citizen whose entry would otherwise be in the national interest, supported by the Australian Government or a state or territory government authority
  • military personnel, including those who form part of the Status of Forces Agreement, Commonwealth Armed Forces, Asia Pacific Forces and Status of Armed Forces Agreement
  • a student completing year 11 and 12, with support from the relevant Australian State or Territory government health authority and education department
  • travelling for compassionate and compelling reasons.

Travelers must hold a visa and an exemption to Australia’s travel restrictions before travel.

Recent News and Notice: Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) and LMT Requirements.

The Australian Government has announced a number of changes to respond to the impact of COVID-19 on the Australian economic. A new priority skills list and strengthened labour market testing has been announced by the Australian Government. These changes will allow small numbers of sponsored skilled workers to return to Australia to fill urgent skills needs in critical sectors, helping to create Australian jobs and rebuild Australia’s economy.

 

PRIORITY SKILLS (PMSOL)

The Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) identifies 17 occupations which fill critical skills needs that support Australia’s economic recovery from COVID-19 based on expert advice from the National Skills Commission and consultation with Commonwealth departments.

The PMSOL targeting occupations in the health care, construction, and IT sectors that will assist in Australia’s COVID recovery. Employer-sponsored applicants in the PMSOL occupations will be given priority processing for both nomination and visa applications in the following visa types:a permanent resident of Australia

  • Subclass 482 – Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa
  • Subclass 494 – Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa
  • Subclass 186 – Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa
  • Subclass 187 – Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS)

Occupations on the PMSOL

  • Chief Executive or Managing Director (111111)
  • Construction Project Manager (133111)
  • Mechanical Engineer (233512)
  • General Practitioner (253111)
  • Resident Medical Officer (253112)
  • Psychiatrist (253411)
  • Medical Practitioner nec (253999)
  • Midwife (254111)
  • Registered Nurse (Aged Care) (254412)
  • Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency) (254415)
  • Registered Nurse (Medical) (254418)
  • Registered Nurse (Mental Health) (254422)
  • Registered Nurse (Perioperative) (254423)
  • Registered Nurses nec (254499)
  • Developer Programmer (261312)
  • Software Engineer (261313)
  • Maintenance Planner (312911)

Travel exemption for employer-nominated sponsor visa applicants’ occupation on the PMSOL

Visa applicants on the PMSOL can also request a travel exemption to enter Australia during the current border closures. However, the mandatory 14-day quarantine period still applies and will still be at the traveller or sponsor’s expense.

Visa Options in Times of COVID-19

My visa is about to expire, what should I do?

i)                 Apply for another visa such as a student, visitor or partner visa. Once the application is lodged and your visa expires you will go on a bridging visa A which will keep you in Australia lawfully, for however long it takes the Department of Home Affairs to assess your visa application;

ii)               If your visa has expired, you will need to apply for a Bridging Visa E ASAP in order to become lawful.

My current visa has a no further stay (8503, 8534 or 8558) condition on it, what are my options?

i)                    You will need to request a waiver of the condition at least 2 – 3 weeks prior to the expiry date of your visa. This application may be based on the circumstances of the corona-19 virus. Once a waiver is granted, you will be able to lodge a further visa, depending on your circumstances, such as a visitor, student or partner visa;

ii)                  If you are a non-resident such as on a visitor visa you cannot stay for more than 12 months in any 18 months period. In such a circumstance, you will need to apply for a new visa. 

I am on an employer sponsored visa such as a 457, 482 or a 407 and my employer is ending my employment due to the Corona-19 situation. What are my options?

i)                    You can discuss with your employer that instead of them ending your employment that they rather give you a Leave Without Pay due the exceptional circumstances of the Covid-19 virus. You would need to formally request the leave without pay from your employer and both have to agree by signing such a request. This is generally taken to be a maximum period of 3 months but due to the exceptional circumstances of the Covid-19 virus, please seek clarification at the time if this can be extended for another 3 months;

ii)                  If the employer wishes to terminate your employment, you can look at applying for another visa such as a visitor visa, student visa or if applicable, a partner visa;

iii)                 Look for another employer to sponsor you but of course in this climate that may be difficult but depends on what industry you are in;

What are the travel restrictions if you wish to come to Australia?

You can travel to Australia if you are:

·         an Australian citizen

·         a permanent resident

·         a New Zealand citizen usually resident in Australia

·         an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident or are a New Zealand citizen usually resident in Australia.

·         Travellers who have a compassionate or compelling reason to travel to Australia can apply for an exemption to travel.

I can't return to Australia before my visa expires and want to return. What will happen?

You will need to apply for a new visa once the travel restrictions are lifted

I am on a Bridging Visa B but cannot return to Australia - what do I do?

If your Bridging visa expires and you are outside Australia, you will need to apply for another visa, such as a visitor visa. Bridging visas cannot be granted if you are outside Australia.

Travel restriction exemptions – Inbound

• NZ citizens usually resident in Australia

• Immediate family members of Australian citizen or permanent resident

• Transiting travellers

Additional exemptions may be applied for from the Commissioner of the Australia Border Force for:

• Foreign nationals travelling at the invitation of the Australian Commonwealth Government for the purpose of assisting in the COVID-19 response or whose entry would be in the national interest

• Critical medical services, including air ambulance and delivery of supplies, that regularly arrive into Australia from international ports

• Persons with critical skills (for example, medical specialists, engineers, marine pilots and crews) by exception

• Diplomats accredited to Australia and currently resident in Australia, and their immediate family

• Case-by-case exceptions may also be granted for humanitarian or compassionate reasons.

Exemptions must be granted prior to these travellers undertaking travel to Australia.

STUDENTS

I am a student – can I work more than 20 hours a week?

Student visa holders working hours relaxed in some sectors.

Arrangements have been made to relax the 40 hour per fortnight work restrictions for student visa holders in specific sectors. 

Student visa holders working in supermarkets (existing staff in existing roles where that work assists to ensure the supply of groceries to and in supermarkets or related online distribution facilities) may work longer hours if their employing supermarket has gained approval from the Department.

Aged care facilities may also be granted approval to employ student visa holders in excess of the usual work restrictions.

Visa Status

Where can I see my current visa status?
As a visa holder, you can use VEVO to check your current visa details and conditions.

Please email us at info@australiamigrate.com or call our offices on (02) 94116000 if you require any assistance with your visa matter.

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