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Update: as of 2 March 2022, changes have also been made to the following visas: Subclass 476, 407 and 408. See below for details.

The Migration Amendmentexternal icon (Extension of Temporary Graduate and Skilled Regional Provisional Visas) Regulations 2022 (‘the Migration Amendment’) will extend the validity of subclass 485, 489, 491 and 494 visas for those visa holders who were caught offshore during Australia’s border closures from 1 February 2020 to 14 December 2021 in specified circumstances.

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Schedule 1 of the Migration Amendment

Temporary Graduate Visas – Subclass 485

Schedule 1 of the Migration Amendment extends the validity of Subclass 485 visas to 30 September 2022. The extension will allow temporary graduate visa holders, who were caught offshore during Australia’s border closures, to apply for a replacement subclass 485 visa which will be available from mid-2022.

This extension also applies to the close family members of the primary visa holder and to visa holders whose visas expired during the border closure period.

To be eligible for extended validity of a subclass 485 visa, the primary applicant must have:

  • Been offshore at any time between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021; and

  • Held or still hold a subclass 485 visa which was in effect during that period, which has ceased or would have ceased before 1 October 2022; and

  • Not had their subclass 485 visa cancelled; and

  • Not been granted another substantive visa

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Schedule 2 of the Migration Amendment

Part 1 – Skilled Regional Provisional Visas – Subclass 489

Schedule 2 of the Migration Amendment allows subclass 489 visa holders to meet permanent residency requirements by extending the validity of subclass 489 visas for three years from their original expiry date.

This extension also applies to the close family members of the primary visa holder and to visa holders whose visas expired during the border closure period.

To be eligible for extended validity of a subclass 489 visa, the primary applicant must have:

  • Been offshore at any time between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021; and

  • Held or still hold a subclass 489 visa during that period; and

  • Not had their subclass 489 visa cancelled

Part 2 – Skilled Work Provisional Visas – Subclass 491 and Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional Visas – Subclass 494

Schedule 2 of the Migration Amendment will also allow subclass 491 and subclass 494 visa holders to maintain their relevant pathways to permanent residency by extending the visa validity for three years from their original expiry date.

This extension also applies to the members of the family unit of the primary visa holder.

To be eligible for extended validity of a subclass 491 and a subclass 494 visa, the primary applicant must have:

  • Been offshore at any time between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021; and

  • Held a subclass 491 or subclass 494 visa during that period which is still in effect on 18 February 2022; and

  • Not had their subclass 491 or subclass 494 visa cancelled.

This post was originally published on https://hammondtaylor.com.au/external icon

Hammond Taylor is globally recognised as a leading Australian immigration law firm. With more than 50 years of combined migration law experience and a focus on innovation.

What's the difference between a subclass 491 vs 489 visa?

Living in Australia is an amazing experience

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2022-03-07T02:30:13.502Z
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Update: Skilled-Recognised Graduate visa (Subclass 476)

Eligible Skilled-Recognised Graduate (Subclass 476) visa holders who lost time in Australia as a result of COVID-19 international border restrictions will have their visas extended for 24 months. This visa allows recent engineering graduates to live, work or study in Australia. This will provide eligible visa holders with the usual length of the visa, plus an additional six months.

Minister for Immigration, Affairs Alex Hawke saidexternal icon this would allow current and former Skilled-Recognised Graduate visa holders to enter, or remain in, Australia until April 2024.

"This measure recognises the importance of qualified engineers to Australia’s economy, particularly as we continue to manage the COVID-19 recovery," Minister Hawke said.

The extension is expected to take effect in April 2022, and eligible visa holders will be notified directly by the Department of Home Affairs of the extension of their visa and may arrive in Australia after this. It will also apply to people whose visas have already expired, who were unable to use the full length of their original visa due to COVID-19 international travel restrictions.

Training visa (Subclass 407)

The Australian government has supported Australian businesses during the pandemic by allowing Student visa holders to work additional hoursexternal icon in critical sectors.

Due to current workforce shortages, the Government is temporarily extending this arrangement by removing the limit on secondary Training (subclass 407) visa holders’ working hours across all sectors of the economy.

This measure takes effect immediately for existing and new secondary Training visa holders, and will be reviewed in April 2022.

Temporary activity visa (Subclass 408)

Temporary visa holders with work rights will be able to access the Subclass 408 visa without having to pay a visa application charge for a period of 6 or 12 months if they work in any sector of the Australian economy.

Currently, this visa is available with no visa application charge for 12 months for any person working in, or with an offer to work in agriculture, food processing, health care, aged care, disability care, child care, and tourism and hospitality.

The new arrangements will only be available for the visa applications made on or after 21 February 2022 by:

  • Temporary visa holders who were in Australia prior to 21 February 2022; as well as

  • Temporary visa holders who arrive in Australia after 21 February 2022 and have work rights or a job offer from a Commonwealth-funded aged care service at the time of application.

Temporary visa holders working in, or intending to work in, any sector of the Australian economy will be able to apply for the 408 visa up to 90 days before their existing visa expires and then remain in Australia for up to 12 additional months if working or intending to work in a key sector (including agriculture, food processing, health care, aged care, disability care, child care, and tourism and hospitality) or 6 months if working or intending to work in any other sector.

“The Government is committed to supporting Australian jobs, supporting Australian industries and continually adjusting our migration settings to ensure that support hits the mark,” Minister Hawke said.

Immigration and the law

Legislation about immigration changes frequently. For example, in June 2021 Australia added 22 new occupations to its priority migration list. So, it’s important to check the Australian Department of Home Affairsexternal icon website for changes that may apply to you. And, if you are interested in Australian student visas, work visas, or looking to migrate permanently, you need to lodge an application with the Australian Government. You may want to consider getting support from a lawyer or migration agent.