More flexible rules for various Australian visa categories and option to refund fees already paid

The Australian government has announced changes for applicants within various visa categories. The changes range from extending the validity of visas to refunding fees already paid to immigration authorities. The changes are all intended to support the recovery of the Australian economy. The most important changes are listed below:

Working Holiday candidates

  • From 19 January 2022, Working Holiday candidates, employed in any sector, may continue to work for the same employer (for longer than 6 months) without having to apply for permission from immigration;
  • Applicants who arrive in Australia between 19 January and 19 April 2022 on a Working Holiday visa can apply for a refund of the $495 fee paid to immigration. This applies to people who have already applied for a visa as well as candidates who have not yet done so;
  • Former Working Holiday visa holders, affected by COVID-19, can apply for a new visa and are exempt from paying the fee.


  • Student visa holders who currently reside outside Australia, but travel to Australia within the next 8 weeks (from 19 January 2022) will be eligible for a refund of the $630 fee paid to immigration;
  • Students may work more hours in critical sectors.

Temporary Graduates

  • Due to changes in the government, as of 18 February 2022, re-entry will be granted to (former) Temporary Graduate visa holders and they will be able to apply for a ‘further stay’;
  • Temporary Graduate Visas will be extended as of 18 February 2022 for graduates who resided outside Australia at any time between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021. Applicants will be notified directly by the Department of Home Affairs.

Skilled Regional Provisional visas

The Australian Government will extend the validity of these visas (subclass 489, 491 and 494) for a period of three years, if the visa holder has been affected by the travel restrictions due to COVID-19. This change will allow all current and former holders of this visa sufficient time to make travel plans and meet the visa requirements for renewal or application for a permanent visa.