In recognising the significant skills shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions in Australia, the Department of Home Affairs have today announced the following changes that will benefit student visa and working holiday visa holders.
Relaxation of work rights
- All student visa holders can work more than 40 hours a fortnight. This will be reviewed to see if this needs to be changed by April 2022.
- Until the end of 2022, there will be no limit on the length of time Working Holiday Makers can work for the same employer (including at the same location).
- From 18 February 2022, eligible Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders may have their visas extended to 30 September 2022 if caught outside of Australia between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021 due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
- Similarly, Skilled Regional Provisional (subclass 489, 491 and 494) visa holders impacted by COVID-19 travel restrictions will have their visas extended by 3 years to enable them to build up time in Australia towards permanent residency pathways.
- Visa holders eligible for an extension will be notified directly by the Department.
This will provide sufficient additional time for all current and former Skilled Regional Provisional visa holders to make travel arrangements to start or resume living and working in regional Australia.
Refunds of Visa Application Charges
The following visa holders can apply for a refund of their visa application charge:
- Working Holiday visa makers currently offshore who come to Australia during the next 12 weeks (ie until 13 April 2022)
- Any Student visa holders currently offshore who come to Australia over the next 8 weeks (ie until 16 March 2022)
Refunds will be prioritised to enable quick travel to Australia.
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