Vaccination requirement for travel to Australia lifted

Effective 6 July 2022, Australia will lift all border restrictions relating to covid-19. This means that people wishing to travel to Australia will no longer need to complete a Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD) to indicate their vaccination status. This will allow all visa holders to travel to Australia and will end the vaccination requirement. As a result, travellers who have not been vaccinated will no longer need to obtain a ‘travel exemption’ prior to departure.

All Australian states and territories have their own requirements for coronavirus measures. Check which rules apply to each state before you travel to Australia.


Australia: Skilled Migration and visa backlog in focus at first cabinet meeting

On Friday 17 June, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese hosted his first national cabinet meeting. During the meeting, leaders from several Australian states and territories highlighted the issues that impact immigration.

Enormous visa backlogs

The Australian immigration programme is still suffering from the effects of the covid-19 pandemic. This has resulted in huge backlogs in the processing and issuing of visas. The Department of Home Affairs is therefore under extreme pressure. Prime Minister Albanese mentioned that several candidates have to wait 12 to 18 months before a visa is granted. In reality, it appears that several candidates have been waiting for more than two years before they are granted a visa. With distressing situations as a result.

The impact on the economy

Partly because of the large backlog at the Department of Home Affairs, the country is facing serious shortages of skilled labour. Many companies are struggling now that they cannot find suitable candidates to fill their vacancies. Mark McGowan, the Prime Minister of Western Australia and the South Australian Prime Minister Peter Malinauskas, among others, acknowledged that ensuring skilled migration is a major concern within the states and territories. According to the Premier of Western Australia, attracting new workers is one of the key challenges in securing continued economic growth.

What will be the solution?

Premier Albanese indicated that attempts are currently being made to resolve the issues internally. For example, people within the Department of Home Affairs working in other departments are being brought in to help deal with visa backlogs and long waiting times. According to him, this is clearly necessary and the easiest way to make an immediate difference.


Canadian Immigration Council (IRCC) resumes invitations Federal Skilled Worker Program and Canadian Experience Class in July 2022

The Canadian Federal Skilled Worker Programme (FSWP) has been on hold since December 2020. The Canadian Experience Class has also been without invitations since September 2021. After a long period of silence from the Canadian Immigration Department, there are now indications that both programmes will finally be resumed around July 2022. Besides these announcements, Minister Sean Fraser has also mentioned that holders of a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) can obtain an extension of up to 18 months of their work permit.

A summary of the most important announcements

  • Express Entry invitations for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Canadian Experience Class and the Federal Skilled Trades Program will resume as of July 2022;
  • The vast majority of new Express Entry applications will be processed within six months. In comparison, according to the IRCC, the current Express Entry processing time ranges from 7 months to more than 20 months;
  • Post-Graduation Work Permit holders whose visas expire between January and December 2022 will be eligible for an additional open work permit of up to 18 months starting in the summer of 2022;
  • Applicants will not be required to reside in Canada for the entire period the visa application is being processed;
  • Applicants who also apply for an open work permit while waiting for the permanent visa application to be processed will be eligible for work permits valid until the end of 2024;
  • To support family reunification, immediate family members of a main applicant for a permanent visa who are outside Canada will be eligible for their own open work permit.

The announcements are good news for anyone who has been waiting a long time for clarity on obtaining permanent residency in Canada. Do you have any questions? Then get in touch with us.

Do you want to know if you can qualify for a visa to Canada in one of the above visa categories? Fill out our free visa check.


Australia announces route to permanent residence for temporary employer-sponsored visa holders

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a decreasing number of temporary visa holders by 2021. Partly as a result, there is currently a high demand for suitable workforce from the Australian labour market. In response, the Australian Government announced on 25 November 2021 that measures will be introduced to improve the option of permanent residency. These measures will apply to certain subclass 482 and 457 visa holders and are due to be introduced on 1 July 2022.

What is an Employer Sponsored Visa (subclass 482 and 457)?

First of all, it is good to make the comparison between the two visa categories. The subclass 457 visa is the predecessor of the current subclass 482 “Temporary Skill Shortage visa”. Both belong to the ’employer sponsored’ category. This means that candidates need an employer to be able to apply for a visa within this category.

Under the current ‘Temporary Skill Shortage visa’, subclass 482, mainly two routes can be distinguished. These are the medium-term stream and the short-term stream. Candidates with an occupation on the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List, or the Regional Occupation List may be able to qualify for a visa with a validity of up to four years. After the candidate has worked for the Australian employer for three years, they can then proceed to a permanent visa. For candidates on the Short-term Skilled Occupation List, the current programme is slightly different. Within this programme a visa for two years can be applied for. After these two years, the visa can be extended for another two years, but moving on to permanent residence is not possible.

The Australian government now wants to change this. The reason for this is that everyone who stayed in Australia during the pandemic contributed to the rebuilding of the economy. In order to acknowledge this, a transition to permanent residence will be made possible for holders of a short-term visa. You can read how they intend to do this below.

Announced changes

The new rules will be introduced on 1 July 2022 and apply to candidates who have worked in Australia for a total of at least 12 months between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021. Additional work experience requirements apply, but vary by situation and visa status.

Applicants who meet the requirements may qualify for a permanent visa in subclasses 186 or 187 through the Temporary Residence Transition stream (TRT). Having an Australian employer is a requirement.

Do you have any questions? Please contact us.


Australia: Immigration quota 2022-2023

Every year, the new visa year in Australia starts on 1 July. This means, among other things, that from that moment a new quota applies for all visa categories. This quota determines how many places are available within a visa category, and therefore how many visas can be issued.

The immigration quota and allocation

Australia’s total immigration programme includes 160,000 places for the visa year running from 1 July 2022. This has remained the same as the previous visa year. However, the number of places for the Skilled Migrant category, for example, has increased. The table below shows the actual quotas for the different categories:

Visa StreamVisa category2021-22 2022-23
SkilledEmployer Sponsored 22,000​ 30,000
Skilled Independent 6,500 16,652
  Regional 11,200 25,000
  State/Territory Nominated 11,200 20,000
  Business Innovation & Investment 13,500 9,500
  Global Talent (Independent) 15,000 8,448
  Distinguished Talent 200 300
Total skilled   79,600 109,900
Family Partner* 72,300 40,500
  Parent 4,500 6,000
  Child* 3,000 3,000
  Other Family 500 500
Total family   77,300* 50,000
Special Eligibility**   100 100
Total visaprogramme   160,00​0 160,000

*The quota mentioned for these visa categories (partner visa and child visa) is only indicative. This is because the quota for these categories is demand driven and there is no ceiling.


No further negative COVID test required to travel to Australia, effective 17 April 2022

The Australian Minister of Health and Aged Care has announced further relaxations effective April 17th, 2022. Now that Australia will also start living with COVID-19, a number of emergency measures will cease to apply, including the requirement to test before travelling to Australia.

However, the requirement for proof of vaccination for international travellers will remain in force. This means that international travellers entering or leaving Australia will be required to provide proof of double vaccination against COVID-19. Also, based on medical advice, travellers must continue to wear a mask during international flights.


Canada removes testing requirement for fully vaccinated travellers from 1 April

Planning to travel to Canada? As of April 1, 2022, fully vaccinated travellers will no longer be required to take a covid-19 test prior to departure.  If you are travelling before 1 April, you will still be required to test prior to departure.

As a reminder, you may be randomly selected to undergo molecular covid-19 testing upon arrival in Canada. If this is the case, you do not have to undergo quarantine while awaiting the result.

For partially or unvaccinated travellers, the testing requirements for entry do not change. Unless otherwise specified, all travellers aged 5 years or older who are considered not fully vaccinated must provide proof of an accepted and negative covid-19 test before departure.

Lastly, all travellers must still submit their compulsory information via ArriveCAN. Failure to do so may result in a mandatory covid testing upon arrival and 14 days in quarantine, regardless of vaccination status. Travellers arriving in Canada by plane or cruise must submit information in ArriveCAN within 72 hours before boarding.


Australia extends Temporary Graduate and Skilled Regional Provisional Visas by three years

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 Australia

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 visa holders

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 means:

  • Visa subclass 489, 491 and 494 will be extended for a period of three years from the original visa expiry date, if;
  • The 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;
  • In the case of visa holders within subclass 491 and 494, it is important that the visa is in force on 18 February;
  • The extension also applies to secondary visa holders including partners and children.

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 applied for.

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.


Australia reopens to all visa holders as of 21 February 2022

After the World Health Organisation declared the COVID outbreak a pandemic in March 2020, Australia closed its borders. After a long wait, the Australian government finally began to reopen the country in phases in November 2021. Now, as of 21 February, international tourists are welcome in Australia again.

All fully vaccinated visa holders welcome again

As of 21 February, fully vaccinated visa holders within all categories are welcome again. This means that tourists, international business travellers and other visitors are now welcome again.

What if you are not fully vaccinated

Applicants who want to come to Australia, but are not fully vaccinated, must apply for a travel exemption in advance. This application will be assessed by a case officer. They will determine to what extent the visit is necessary and whether the travel exemption can be granted. If it is decided that travel to Australia is allowed, (hotel) quarantine in the states and territories is mandatory.

How to proceed

Would you like to travel to Australia? Then first of all you need a visa. If you have not yet applied for a visa, it is important to do so as soon as possible. You also need to determine whether you need a Travel Exemption.

Can’t work it out? Then feel free to contact us.


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.