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COVID-19 Related Changes for Temporary Visa Holders

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COVID-19 Related Changes for Temporary Visa Holders

Australia is on its road to recovery from COVID-19, the Australian Government is providing incentive for Student visa holders, Working holiday visa holders and Temporary Graduate visa holders to return to Australia as soon as possible to help address current workforce shortages. Below are some temporary changes which may apply to you.

Student Visa

Temporary relaxation of Student visa work limits to all sectors of the economy has been implemented. This has taken effect immediately for all current students, as well as new student arrivals who wish to start a job prior to course commencement. This means that Student visa holders could work before their course commences and could work more than 40 hours per fortnight in any sector of the economy. This concession is also applicable to secondary applicants.

Please kindly note this is a temporary arrangement and will be reviewed by the Government in April 2022.

Please also note that students must continue to balance between study and work commitments by:

  • Maintaining course enrolment;

  • Ensuring satisfactory course attendance; and

  • Ensuring satisfactory course progress.

Student visa holders who cancel their enrolment and stop attending classes, or fail to meet satisfactory course progress, may be in breach of visa conditions.

If you have finished your course, and if you are working or have an employment offer in a critical sector (e.g. medical technology, critical infrastructure, telecommunications, engineering and mining, supply chain logistics, aged care, agriculture, food production, the maritime industry etc)​, you may be eligible for a COVID-19 Pandemic (subclass 408) visa (‘408 visa’). Please kindly keep in mind that you can only apply for the 408 visa 90 days before your Student visa’s expiry date.​

Also, any Student visa holder who is currently overseas and travels to Australia between 19 January 2022 and 19 March 2022 will be eligible for a refund of their visa application charge. Students will be able to apply for a refund up until 31 December 2022.

Working Holiday Visa

Any Working Holiday visa holder who is currently overseas and travels to Australia between 19 January 2022 and 19 April 2022 will be eligible for a refund of their visa application charge.

The Government is also temporarily relaxing the 6-month work limitation for Working holiday visa holders. This has taken effect immediately for all current Working holiday visa holders, until the end of 2022. This means there will be no limit on the time Working holiday visa holders can work for the same employer.

Temporary Graduate Visa

​​​On 18 February 2022, certain eligible Temporary Graduate visa holders had their visas extended to 30 September 2022. Visa holders eligible for an extension should have been notified directly by the Immigration Department.

This temporary measure allows eligible Temporary Graduate visa holders who were affected by COVID-19 travel restrictions to enter, or remain in,​ Australia to live and work until they can apply for and be granted a replacement Temporary Graduate visa.​​ The COVID-19 Temporary Graduate replacement stream visa will be available for new applications from 1 July 2022. Please kindly refer to our article on the COVID-19 Temporary Graduate replacement stream visa for more details on eligibility here: www.cmigroup.com.au/post/introduction-of-temporary-graduate-visa-subclass-485-covid-19-replacement-stream.

There have also been temporary changes and concessions on the eligibility requirements for Temporary Graduate visa to aid those who have been affected by COVID-19 travel restrictions, including:

  • Online study undertaken outside Australia for existing and new Student visa holders will be counted towards the Australian Study Requirement (‘ASR’) (please note that only study undertaken outside Australia whilst holding a Student visa will be counted towards the ASR);

  • Where graduates have met all the requirements, they can apply for and be granted a Temporary Graduate visa outside Australia (please note that if an applicant is applying outside Australia, applicant must hold or have held an eligible Student visa); and

  • The Immigration Department allows extra time for applicants to provide English language test results if applicants were unable to take a test because of COVID-19;

  • Please kindly note applicants must lodge the application within 6 months of completing an eligible qualification.

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