Be patient during COVID-19, your Australian visa is still being processed
There are so many questions coming from applicants and sponsors asking how their Australian visa application is going since the COVID 19 pandemic has hit us. Are you one of them? How long is the waiting time for Australian Visa applications during the COVID-19? How long is too long for the Australian visa to be approved? The Department of Home Affairs has stated that during this coronavirus pandemic, offshore Australian visa application can still be processed, but the decision may take longer. This extended processing time mainly affects offshore Australian partner visas during the COVID 19 Pandemic.
On the other hand, the offshore Australian student visa seems like it is not being processed for the time being.
This situation has happened due to the local Australian based education providers changing the system and most of them now set on the school break earlier and even offering online studies. It is currently unknown whether new International students can enrol for the next term or not during the COVID-19 crisis.
Australian Partner visas applications during the COVID-19 on the other hand are still being processed, but the processing time for partner visas during the pandemic is considerably longer than expected. The Department of Home Affairs said Australian partner visa is most likely to be delayed up to almost two years. There is even a possibility to delay the processing time for partner visas application further in times to come.
This situation is worse for offshore Australian partner visa applications, especially for those whose spouse or de facto partners are outside Australia and waiting to come so they can be together during this difficult time. They will have to be patient as the wait could be a very long time to start their lives in Australia. Meanwhile, I would advise their partners here in Australia to apply for a visitor visa for their spouse or de facto now while awaiting their partner visa application to be processed.
After the start of COVID-19 pandemic, the delayed waiting period is not only affecting Australian partner visa and student visa applicants, but Australian skilled visa categories are likely to be further affected as well. Skilled independent subclass 189 permanent visa applications approval have been reported to decrease since March 2020, where there used to be 1,750 granted visa applications, in April the granted applications are down to only 50.
This decreased in granted application number is also applied for Skilled Work Regional subclass 491 provisional visa.
This decreasing number is caused by the Federal Government’s policy that it is prioritising Australian workers while the country’s economy is recovering and beyond. The government has already indicated that net overseas migration will fall 30 per cent this year and 85 per cent in the next financial year.
Can skilled migrants work in Australia during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
There is still a chance that skilled migrants could be allowed to work in Australia regardless of the International travel ban that has still not been lifted as yet. This may apply if the migrants’ skills are beneficial to the country during this pandemic, for instance if the skill is relevant to COVID-19 response and relevant to economic recovery.
Another possible category is for International Student Visa Applicants who have enrolled in nursing. This applicant category can work to help and support the country to overcome the COVID-19 as directed by health officials.
For those who want to apply for an Australian visa, there will be a limitation in some services for the supporting visa application documents, such as medical examinations, English tests, and biometric collections that most probably are affected by the pandemic. Due to this issue, the Department will be provided additional time to prepare these documents.
I understand how each Australian visa applicant is eager to get their visa approved immediately.
However, the question is “should I apply now or later”, I would advise taking a chance now.
Knowing the Australian visa processing time might take longer, if you apply for it now then when the borders are open and you have a positive outcome, you will be the one who can jump on board instead of waiting for the visa lodgement.
Take the first step and get in touch with us. If you’d like to discuss Australian visa, contact us via email at [email protected] or by phone: Perth (08) 9477 5831, Sydney (02) 9188 2065 & Melbourne (03) 9088 4114.