This can be quite a daunting time for everyone, especially those holding temporary visas. Travel Ban and Policy changes will affect those who hold temporary visas onshore or offshore, as well as those who have pending visa expires.
Those affected will include lodged and plan-to-lodge visas; visa processing time; your studies plans; travel plans; offshore application cancellations due to the new travel restrictions placed on Australia’s borders. We are putting together below information to hopefully provide you with some answers.
The Migration Institute of Australia (MIA) has requested some clarification from the Department of Home Affairs regarding the options available to those impacted by the new policy, this has been summarised below (and on our FAQ page.
It is important that if you are impacted by the change in policy that you contact our team of Migration lawyers. We currently offer a complimentary consultation to discuss your visa goals.
We understand this can be an uncertain and stressful period, we therefore aim to provide you with clarity and guidance to better prepare you and to achieve your visa goals.
Q: Will any concessions be available for visa holders unable to comply with their current visa conditions?
A: The department is taking a flexible approach to visa holders in these circumstances, including in the following situations:
- Requests for waiver of the ‘No Further Stay’ condition
- Timeframes in relation to health, character and English language requirements for applicants.
Q: Has the Department devoted extra resources to processing urgent waiver requests?
If you require assistance in regards in attempting to obtain a waiver, please contact our knowledgeable Migration team.
Temporary Graduate visa – Subclass 485
Q: Will international student graduates be provided with an extended application period where they have not been able to return onshore to lodge their Subclass 485 applications?
A: The Migration Regulations allow international students to apply for a Temporary Graduate Visa up to six months after the expiry of their student visa. This means that most students who completed higher education studies in Semester 2 of 2019 will have until September 2020 to apply for a Temporary Graduate Visa.
Q: Will the 12 months living in Australia immediately prior to citizenship applications be enforced for those who have been prevented from returning to Australia due to the travel ban?
A: The general residence requirement requires applicants to have been lawfully present in Australia for a period of four years, including at least 12 months as a permanent resident, immediately prior to making an application. Applicants may be absent from Australia for no more than 12 months in total during the four-year period, including no more than 90 days in the 12 months immediately prior to lodging an application. There is no legislative authority under the Act for either the Minister or a delegated decision maker to waive any of the legal requirements for conferral of Australian citizenship.
Q: Will concessions be available for students who have been unable to return to Australia due to the travel ban and have undertaken online courses during this period to ensure the continuity of their academic progress during the travel ban?
A: The Department of Home Affairs plays no role in authorising the modes of study for international students and is guided by education sector regulators, the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) and the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), on whether students can count online learning towards completion of their course.
Bridging Visa B
Q: What arrangements have been put in place to allow BVB holders offshore to extend the validity of the BVB while they are prevented from returning to Australia?
A: There is no ability to “extend” a BVB travel period after grant. Non-citizens will need to apply for a further visa to return to Australia.
Q: Will BVB holders’ whose visas expire while overseas because of the ban be able to apply offshore for a further BVB?
A: No. There is no ability to “extend” a BVB travel period after grant. Non-citizens will need to apply for a further visa to return to Australia.
Q: Would consideration be given to issuing BVB holders adversely affected by the travel ban with very short stay visitor visas so they can get back onto their BVAs quickly?
A: If a BVB expires before the holder can return to Australia, they will need to apply for another visa (such as a short stay Visitor visa) once the travel restrictions have been lifted. Decisions on Visitor visa applications will be made on a case by case basis. Once onshore, the person will need to apply for a BVA to remain lawful after the Visitor visa expires.
Temporary Visa holders Dependants of Australian residents or Citizens
Q: What evidence of the relationship be required to be provided for entry to Australia of de facto partners?
A: If a de facto relationship has not been previously declared and evidenced to the Department, documents can be submitted to the Department.
Please contact our team to discuss suggested documentation.
Q: How will those with cancelled temporary visas have these reinstated?
A: Persons are being notified in writing of their visa cancellation and provided with advice on how to seek revocation of the visa cancellation decision. Visas will be reinstated for people who can demonstrate they have been outside of mainland China for a minimum period of 14 days or if they fall within one of the existing exemption categories. Remaining revocation requests will be prioritised for consideration by the Department after the temporary travel restrictions have been lifted.
Our team continues to remain alert to any changes that could impact your visa outcomes, contact our team of Migration Lawyers to help you navigate the changes.
Please view https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/ to stay up to date with the everchanging policy and restrictions.
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