How COVID-19 Pandemic Affects Australian Migration
Australia is a multicultural country that some people are dreaming of moving to. There are thousands of people who are on a temporary visa that would like to settle in Australia permanently. Are you one of them? In this unprecedented time, you must be wondering about how the COVID-19 crisis may affect your Australian visa application.
I am aware that the current temporary visa changes have left visa holders with uncertainties around work, health and study programs. The COVID-19 crisis has been particularly difficult for temporary visa holders or migrants. The coronavirus restrictions across Australia are changing rapidly. States and Territories make changes based on their needs and concerns. These changes will definitely impact everyone.
What happened to the Australia migration program during COVID-19 Pandemic?
It has been announced that the net Australian migration level in 2020-21 is expected to remain around 36,000 seats which include 190, 191, 491 and Employer-Sponsored Visas too. It is the lowest in 40 years.
Here I would like to present some of the latest migration updates that are important for you if you are holding a temporary Australian visa.
The biggest COVID-19 migration concern is coming from Victoria, a state of disaster has been declared across the whole region, and in addition, the stage 4 of emergency was announced for metropolitan Melbourne. Many businesses are closed from midnight 5th August 2020, except for essential services. There is some significant help from the Federal Government which will introduce a $1,500 “disaster payment” for paid pandemic leave in Victoria. It will be available to workers in Victoria who need to self-isolate but do not have sick leave or payments through JobKeeper or JobSeeker and expected to benefit short-term visa holders in particular. Employers must not allow employees to work from the workplace if reasonably practicable. All students across the state have also returned to home-based learning.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, The Government of South Australia has released a limited number of allocation places for the State’s General Skilled and Business Migration program for 2020/21, which will mostly support South Australia’s economic and public health recovery. The view to applications will be open in late August 2020. The other states have not published their results as yet and are still remaining on hold.
If you are currently processing your visa, especially for skilled migrations during COVID-19 Pandemic, your application will be prioritised if you are:
- High quality applications within the Business Innovation and Investment Program, have already lodged an ‘Intention to Apply’ given priority consideration.
- providing critical or specialist medical services, critical skills required to maintain the supply of essential goods and services; or delivering services in sectors critical to Australia’s economic recovery.
I am holding a temporary visa in Australia, what’s the impact of COVID-19 Pandemic to my visa application?
On the positive side, the Department of Home Affairs has also applied flexibility in visa conditions and sponsorship requirements for those temporary visa holders impacted by COVID-19 and established a new temporary activity visa for those facing expiring visas. This includes a series of changes to enable temporary visa holders to work and remain in critical sectors, including health and aged care, disability services, agriculture and food processing and child care.
For instance, the farming sector is facing labour shortages tied to the downfall in migration numbers, which usually help sustain the agricultural workforce. It is critical for agriculture that the government continue to support and improve upon its temporary migration programs to keep the sector productive and regional communities prosperous.
Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa holders in healthcare and medical sectors anywhere in Australia after 31 January 2020 are now counted as critical COVID-19 work thus eligible to apply for 2nd or 3rd-year extension options. Those who are not eligible but work in these critical sectors and unable to return to their origin country can alternatively apply for a Temporary Activity visa (Subclass 408) on the Australian Government Endorsed Agreement Event stream which doesn’t have an application fee.
This visa allows you to stay and continue to work in Australia until you can safely return to your country.
For Student visa holders whose study is affected by COVID-19, a waiver will be given if they wish to extend their expiring Student visa in order to finish their study. The affected Student Visa holders are international students whose:
- Study was deferred as a result of the inability to enter Australia because of the travel restriction;
- Study was previously full time but now is imposed to the part-time study change;
- Training and/or placements were put on hold or cancelled thus couldn’t be completed.
Are you one of them? speak to our migration agents to understand your visa options. Book 100% refundable* consultation fee if you become our client.
What other visa options are available during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
If you are on an expiring temporary working or visitor visa but have an Australian citizen, an Australian PR, or a New Zealand citizen partner, you might want to try applying for a partner visa onshore on the basis of de facto or marriage relationship. Upon lodging the Partner visa (subclass 820), you will automatically be given a bridging visa (BVA). This bridging visa will then be effective once your current visa expires and will stay active until the decision for your partner visa is made. Health coverage and work privilege come with this bridging visa.
Another significant update, if not the most surprising one, comes from the minimum point requirement for the Skilled Independent visa (Subclass 189) and Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (Subclass 491) – Family Sponsored stream. The latest invitation round (14 July 2020) issued 500 and 100 nominations respectively for aforementioned visas with minimum score points of 90 for visa 189 and 95 for visa 491.
Are you falling under this category? Book a consultation to understand your options. We will assess your eligibility and ensure you are meeting eligibility criteria. Our consultation fee is 100% refundable*.
Should we stop migrating to Australia due COVID-19 Pandemic? Keep the faith, Australia needs migrant workers!
If your temporary visa is close to expiring and you do not know which direction to go, I am happy to listen to your concerns and provide you with visa solutions during the COVID-19 Pandemic. In addition to this, there will be a lot of potential for migrant workers for post- corona states to boost the Australian economy which is suffering a deep recession. Some experts are predicting that migration will be a critical component of the post-pandemic recovery.
We understand that applying for a visa to Australia is certainly very complex. It is even harder during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Our visa specialists at ONE derland Consulting will help you assess your visa options. We have a 98% success rate and one of the most highly recommended migration agents in Australia. Read our 4.9* score customer reviews.
We are the complex visa specialist. As a registered Australian migration agent with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA), we are regulated in our professional practice and bound by the profession’s Code of Conduct issued by the Migration Agents Registration Authority.
Take the first leap and get in touch with us. Our migration agents are professional, honest and speak various languages such as Mandarin/ Chinese, Bahasa Indonesia, Arabic, Japanese, Polish, German and Russian. Contact us through email at [email protected] or via phone on at 08 9477 5831 (Perth office), 02 9188 2065 (Sydney office) or 03 9088 4114 (Melbourne office). Alternatively, you may book consultation online and 100% refundable*.