Good news for Temporary Graduate and Skilled Regional Provisional visa holders affected by the covid pandemic. For applicants who meet the requirements, the Australian visa has been extended effective today, 18 February 2022.
Development of regional
The large Australian metropolitan areas such as Sydney, Melbourne and
Brisbane are extremely popular, but also very densely populated. And yet the
areas surrounding these cities (regional Australia) are struggling with labour
shortages. With a tailored migration policy, the Australian government strives
for the sustainable development of regional areas. Through arrangements, these
regional communities are enabled to address skills and labour shortages. In
this way, they also benefit from the substantial economic advantages that
migration brings to Australia.
The Skilled Regional Provisional visas are an important part of the
strategy to support regional Australia. If candidates and their family members
live, work and study in regional Australia for the first period of their stay
(which varies by visa category), they are eligible for permanent residence.
The impact of covid-19 on
Many visa holders have faced international travel restrictions due to
covid-19 since February 2020. This has severely restricted their ability to travel
to Australia. This also includes Skilled Regional Provisional visa holders. The
travel restrictions have prevented many visa holders from moving to regional
Australia to live and work there. Others had to leave (regional) Australia and
could not return to resume their work or find other suitable employment. As a
result, a large number of visa holders encountered difficulties, jeopardising
their right of residence and their application for a permanent visa.
Measures for affected
holders of Skilled Regional Provisional visas
On 25 November 2021, the Australian Government announced the first of a
series of measures to assist affected visa holders and visa applicants. For
example, (former) Skilled Regional Provisional visa holders would be given
additional time to meet the residency and work requirements to apply for
permanent residence. Last month, on 18 January, it was further clarified that
these visas would be extended for a period of three years. Specifically, this
subclass 489, 491 and 494 will be extended for a period of three years from the
original visa expiry date, if;
primary visa holder was outside Australia for any time between 1 February 2020
and 14 December 2021 and held a valid visa within the above visa categories
during that time;
the case of visa holders within subclass 491 and 494, it is important that the
visa is in force on 18 February;
extension also applies to secondary visa holders including partners and
Measures for affected
Temporary Graduate visa holders
On 25 November 2021, it was announced that the government intended to
introduce a substitute subclass 485 visa. This visa applies to visa holders who
have lost time in Australia due to international travel restrictions. The visa
is available to applicants who were outside Australia at any time between 1
February 2020 and 15 December 2021. However, it is important that they were in
possession of a valid subclass 485 visa during that period.
As the replacement visa is expected to be available from mid-2022, the
validity of certain visas will be extended to 30 September 2022. This will
allow affected visa holders to return to Australia. During this period, they
can stay, live, work or study in Australia until the replacement visa can be
This extension applies to all subclass 485 visa holders where the
primary visa holder was outside of AustraIia at any time between 1 February
2020 and 14 December 2021. It is important that the applicant was in possession
of a valid subclass 485 visa which expired or was due to expire before 1
October 2022 but has not been cancelled. It is also important that the holder
has not obtained another visa. The extension also applies to secondary visa
holders such as a partner and child(ren).
Has my visa been extended?
Are you unsure if your visa has been extended, or do you want to double
check? In that case we recommend you to check your visa conditions in VEVO. You
can do this by using your visa and passport details. Therefore keep your
passport and grant notification at hand. Feel free to contact us if you have
any questions or if you have trouble finding a solution.