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Immigration Update – Ukraine

By 1 March 2022No Comments

We are all watching with great sadness as the humanitarian situation in Ukraine continues to deteriorate. We are feeling a sense of helplessness and thought it may help by providing a summary about Australian visa options.

For those offshore with Australian applications pending
The Australian embassy is trying to contact applicants with visa applications already lodged with the Department to grant them a Temporary Safe Haven – Humanitarian Visa (Subclass 449). These are granted for a period of 6 months and will have a limitation that the person cannot apply for another visa in Australia without the Minister’s permission. It is a short-term solution to assist Ukrainian nationals or passport holders to enter Australia.  It does not require medicals or police clearances.

Unfortunately, the 449 visa is not a visa someone can just apply for. It requires an offer or an invitation by the Department, an acceptance by the individual, and then an ‘endorsement’. The 449 was used for Afghan evacuees, with the most recent update published here. There is no current update for Ukraine released by the Government.

For those offshore with no Australian application pending
Visitor visas can be lodged even where there is no intention for applicants to come to Australia temporarily as they are escaping their war-torn country. It seems the Department is granting these within hours of lodgement, despite applicants not being ‘genuine visitors’ and a declaration being made that the visa is to ‘escape the Ukraine war’.

The visitor visa grants that we have seen so far is for individuals with relatives in Australia and we do not know how these applications will be treated if the applicant does not have such a link to Australia. The Government is working 24/7 on processing these applications as quickly as possible.

Temporary visa holders in Australia
The Prime Minister announced automatic visa extensions for 6 months will be given to Ukrainian nationals or passport holders in Australia who have a visa expiring before 30 June 2022. Visa holders do not need to do anything to receive this extension. The Department is directly contacting visa holders in Australia who have visas expiring soon to make arrangements to remain in Australia.

How Ajuria can help
We are doing as much of this work as we can pro-bono. We are more than happy to help your Ukrainian employees and their families.

Other organisations
Ajuria Lawyers is proud to partner with Talent Beyond Boundaries and their recent update can be found here.

We can all also aid the humanitarian effort by supporting first responders on the ground, including:

Of course, even if an Australian visa is issued, there are still other roadblocks with people getting out and communication being so incredibly difficult right now.

We will keep you updated on any changes or announcements.

DISCLAIMER This information is current as of date of publication and subject to change. The information contained in this publication is of a general nature only. It should not be used as legal advice. To the extent permissible by law, Ajuria Lawyers and its associated entities shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, defects or misrepresentations in the information or for any loss or damage suffered by persons who use or rely on such information. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Have more specific questions about your visa? Get in touch with Ajuria Lawyers today.

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Author Lillian Ajuria

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