Many temporary visas have been impacted by COVID-19. 

We’ll keep you updated with the latest developments on COVID-19 effects Visas.

As the situation is regularly changing, we will endeavour to keep you updated via information on this page. Watch our video below for an overview of the challenges for temporary visa holders.

If you hold a temporary visa and want to know more about the impact of COVID-19 on temporary and provisional visa holders:

If you hold a temporary work visa, click here to read our update for employers so that you understand their obligations under employer sponsored visas.

If you employ international staff on temporary work visas and you have changed their employment conditions, salary, job role or have been forced to make a redundancy or stand down a sponsored employee, you must notify the Department. You can view the Department of Home Affairs sponsorship obligations for standard business sponsors here. We have also released a fact sheet here. Please contact us to support your compliance obligations on +61 8 8210 9800 or for further advice on you visa.

We are introducing urgent Visa Alerts to address the many questions you or your friends may have and misinformation that’s hitting social media. Media Alerts as follows:

- Friday 17 April 2020

See more of our Covid-19 videos >

COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions on Visa Application

Section 48 affected applicants:

Is there a chance of section 48 being lifted on people with a refused 485 application?

Unfortunately at this stage the Department has not introduced any temporary provisions within the Migration Regulations to waive the S48 bar – but they could do this. Find out more

As a result there is no capacity for a Departmental officer to allow an application to be lodged onshore by a person who is S48 barred. (Namely someone who is onshore that doesn’t hold a substantive visa and has had a visa refused or cancelled since they last entered Australia).  The Commonwealth has asked the State and Territory governments to suspend nominating S48 barred applicants until the COVID-19 travel restrictions have been resolved – but this does not help those who have recently received invitation to apply for a skilled migration visa. It may be possible to submit an EOI and state nomination application again at a later date once the entry ban is lifted, pending you continue to meet all of the relevant criteria.  Migration Solutions wrote to the Department about this and we got a very blunt response.

Please remember this information is provided as a basic guide only.   If you are affected by S48 and cannot apply for a visa before a critical time – such as before your 45th Birthday, please email admin@migrationsolutions.com.au or call our office on 08 8210 9800 to speak to one of our migration agents.

Please continue to follow us on Facebook as any new information will be posted on our Facebook page.

Centrelink payment related questions:

About the Job Keeper. Are there any chances that they will extend it to the skilled visas like 489?

Are people on 489 visas eligible for social benefits in these unprecedented times of COVID 19?

Applicants who are living in Australia and are Australian residents (Australian citizens, permanent residents and people who hold a protected special category visa), may be eligible for payments. Find out more

Our office has called on the Federal Government to offer emergency payments to temporary and provisional visa holders on shore, especially those who have met the requirements to be granted permanent residency but are stuck in an endless and unnecessary queue.

Apart from Senator Rex Patrick in South Australia, the Job Keeper legislation passed through the lower and upper houses of Parliament on the 8th of April.  Unfortunately, no changes were made that provides any support to someone who is not an Australian citizen or permanent resident (or someone from NZ). 

There was some indication from the Prime Minister that this could change after the legislation is introduced so we must continue to fight for temporary emergency payments for temporary and provisional visa holders.  Please follow us on Facebook as any new information will be posted on our Facebook page. In the meantime, it may be best to contact the Department of Human Services or go to your local Centrelink office (or visit them online) for further information, but don’t hold your breath.  One bit of good news for temporary visa holders who find themselves in trouble is that they can get in contact with the Red Cross for support.

If you require assistance with your visa application please email admin@migrationsolutions.com.au  or call our office on 08 8210 9800.

500/485 Questions:

485 approved but can’t do job ready at this stage

I am on 485 visa. If I will lodge an application for PR in November with 100 points. How long will it take for invitation?

Are students who graduated at the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019 allowed to extend 485 visa for 6 more months?

Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) has announced that they will continue to assess applications submitted through the online portal, however. Find out more

processing times are expected to be impacted for the foreseeable future. Applicants can email TRA for further information on traenquiries@dese.gov.au

We have already been in touch with VETASSESS and TRA about waving the 12 month work experience and Job Ready Program work experience requirements for those impacted by the Coronavirus.  We will keep you updated about this on Facebook.  We have also asked TRA if they will accept work experience in approved charities like “Meals on Wheels” for a skills assessment.

The Department of Home Affairs has not announced any extension or exemptions to the Subclass 485 visa at this stage which could also impact your opportunity to complete your skill assessment.  Our CEO Mark Glazbrook is actively speaking to the Department of Home Affairs, the media, state and federal politicians and senators, key industry groups and business leaders about this, advocating for reforms. We will post any updates to our Facebook page, so please like and follow us on Facebook and check back regularly.

With regards to future invitation rounds it will be interesting to see what the Department does about this.  I think there will certainly be a decrease in people applying for EOI’s due to the current economic and employment issues related to the Coronavirus which will have a negative impact on getting skills assessments completed or getting additional points for work experience.  If there is a reduction of new people submitting EOI’s, it is possible that demand will decrease.  If this is the case I would expect the points required to get an invitation will also fall over time.   Unfortunately however, there is still a big backlog of lodged applications sitting at the department in their pipeline waiting to be processed.  The bigger the backlog the longer visa processing takes and the less likely that the Department will reduce the point’s requirement for certain occupations.

 

With regards to 485 visas, Migration Solutions is calling for 485 and 489 visas to be extended and that TRA and VETASSESS remove the work experience provisions from their skill assessment criteria for anyone who has lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus.  We also believe that work experience should also include volunteer and charity work for approved charities. 

Please remember this information is provided as a basic guide only.  If you have any questions relating specifically to your individual circumstances, we encourage you to email admin@migrationsolutions.com.au or call our office on 08 8210 9800 and make an appointment to speak to one of our migration agents.

GSM Questions:

Is there any impact on SC 189 visa processing?

what type of processing priority does 189 receive now as compared with other skilled visas?

The Department is still currently processing visa applications (apart from family sponsored visitor visas). Find out more

Published processing time for a Skilled Independent, Subclass 189 visa is up to 12 months, however please note that this is only an approximate time frame and each application is assessed on a case by case basis.  Applicants who are onshore, holding valid visas and are eligible to apply for a Subclass 189 visa application are still encouraged to do so.  Processing delays can be expected due to Bupa ceasing immigration medicals.   Delays encountered with the Departmental processing of 190 and 189 visas is due to the Departments backlog or pipeline of visa applications which is a direct result of the reduction in permanent skilled visas being made available and visas granted in the 2017/18 (162,417) and 2018/19 (160,323) program years despite 190,000 visas being available.

If you require our assistance or have any specific questions about your individual application please do not hesitate to email admin@migrationsolutions.com.au or call 08 8210 9800. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

I have heard that the immigration department is going to revise and reduce the income requirements ($53900) while on 491 provisional visa due to downfall in economy and unavailability of work. Is it true?

Is the department going to give any leverage to 489 visa holders 1 year of 35 hour/week experience during these crucial times?

Whilst extending the 491 and 489 visas and reducing the 489 requirements to qualify for an 887 visa. Find out more

would be very helpful given the circumstances caused as a result of the Coronavirus, the Department has not announced any changes to the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Subclass 491/489 to 887 visa application eligibility criteria or automatic visa extensions.  Due to this you must continue to live, work and abide by the current visa conditions attached to your visa - as difficult as this is at the moment.   Please follow us on Facebook as any new information will be posted on our Facebook page.

As a result of the Coronavirus Migration Solutions believes the Department must extend all 485 and 491/489 visas to allow these visa holders more time to be able to meet the requirements and qualify for a 887 or another PR visa.  It would be incredibly unfair if the Department did not do this as the current economic and employment conditions are absolutely beyond all of our control.

Please remember this information is provided as a basic guide only.  If you require our assistance or have any specific questions about your individual application please do not hesitate to email admin@migrationsolutions.com.au or call 08 8210 9800.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Can we move to other state regional area while having 489 visas is there any impact on 887 application?

I got my 489 visa from south Australia can I move to other regional area??

Can people on 489 visas, (after meeting the requirements for 887 and currently waiting for an outcome), work in a different regional area to provide support to the healthcare system during this time?

489 visa holders are allowed to live and work in ANY specified/designated areas depending on the visa condition which is imposed on their visas. Find out more

This could either be 8539 or 8549 condition.

If the person/visa holder who satisfied the primary criteria for the grant of the visa was nominated by a State or Territory government agency, condition 8539 applies.

If the visa holder who satisfied the primary criteria for the grant of the visa was sponsored by a person, condition 8549 will apply.

Information on the Departments website states

Visa condition 8539;

While you are in Australia you must live, work and study only in an area we specify as a regional or low-population growth metropolitan area of Australia.

Your visa grant letter will list specified regional and low-population growth metropolitan areas.

And visa condition 8549;

You must live, work and study in a designated area while you are in Australia on the visa.

If you have held more than one visa that is subject to this condition, the designated area that was in force when the first of those visas was granted will apply.

You can find the designated area in your visa grant letter. The website also has a complete listing of Designated Areas of Australia

(Please note that other conditions apply to former holders of Norfolk Island Immigration permits.)

For information about these conditions and the list of specified/designated areas please click here and search for your relevant visa.

Due to these conditions allowing the visa holder to live and work in any specified/designated area, it is possible to move to another regional area and still meet the requirements for an 887 visa.

With regards to moving to a non-regional or non-specified/designated area after you have met the requirements for an 887 visa the answer to this is no.  Any visa condition attached to a 489 visa will remain in force (meaning you must comply with the visa condition) until the visa ceases.  Where you have applied for an 887 visa and you current hold a bridging visa (after your 489 has ceased) this is a little different. The Bridging visa connected to an 887 application has no conditions attached so you are free to work and live wherever you like.  However, whilst your 489 still exists the BVA for the 887 will not have taken effect so you are still restricted and you must continue to abide with your visa conditions.

There are also no conditions attached to an 887 visa.

Please remember this information is provided as a basic guide only.  If you have questions about your individual situation or if you require our assistance please do not hesitate to email admin@migrationsolutions.com.au or call 08 8210 9800. We look forward to hearing from you soon. 

Subclass 887 Questions:

While applying for 887 from 489, do we need to consider any holidays abroad in the 2 year of residency period, holidays that are less than a month?

Short holidays during which the applicant visits a metropolitan city or travels overseas, do not detract from a period of residence. Find out more

when considering whether an applicant has been living in a specified regional area for at least two years.

If you require our assistance or have any specific questions about your individual application please do not hesitate to email admin@migrationsolutions.com.au or call 08 8210 9800.  It is important that you meet the residency requirement and that your calculations are correct if you have travelled abroad.  Please remember this information is provided as a basic guide only and you should seek independent advice about your eligibility to meet the 887 requirements. 

Processing time for 887 visas started increasing from last year ...so it’s not the reason of Covid19. Does ministerial taking any action on pending files?

How about the length of time it is taking the 887 visas?

Current processing time for 887 is 24-28 months, however it is usually 4-6 months at the time we applied for 489 visa. We have applied for 887 now and the long processing time is impacting out employment and other circumstances. Anything we can do to reduce this 2-year processing time?

Any idea why the 887 has now gone to 28 months processing time and how can we get this reduced? Who can we contact to reduce the time?

Skilled Regional, Subclass 887 visa processing times has been the most frequently asked question during the Facebook live chat. Find out more

Due to this Migration Solutions is taking urgent action. 

The Department is still processing Skilled Regional, Subclass 887 visa applications. The current processing time if between 24 to 28 months. However please note that this is an approximate processing time and each application is assessed on a case by case basis.

Generally visa processing times are impacted each month by changes in application volumes, complex cases and incomplete application. The Department is only able to grant a certain number of visa applications each financial year, BUT, this does not apply to 887 applications.

We will be doing a lot more about 887 applications this week starting Monday the 13th of April.

What is very odd about the 887 delays is that where a visa has a permanent residence pathway, eg from a provisional or ‘first stage’ visa to a permanent or ‘second stage’ visa, the applicant has already been counted to the Migration Program when the provisional visa was granted.

Therefore, if a person has been previously granted a visa which counted toward the Migration Program and that person will not be counted again, why is it taking 24-28 months for an 887 to be granted?  The only eligibility criteria other than character is that they have lived and worked in a regional area for a prescribed period of time. 

Something is definitely not right here.  Watch this space.

Our CEO Mark Glazbrook is actively speaking to the Department of Home Affairs, the media, state and federal politicians and senators, key industry groups and business leaders about this, advocating for reforms to the current processing times and the other challenges faced by provisional visa holders. We will post any updates on our Facebook page, so please check our page regularly.

Please watch our latest 887 “Call to Action” video with information and instructions on how we can try to address this and get the Department to grant all pending 887 applications.

Please remember this information is provided as a basic guide only.  If you require our assistance or have any specific questions about your individual application please do not hesitate to email admin@migrationsolutions.com.au or call 08 8210 9800. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Employer Sponsored Questions:

I am on 457 visa and It’s been more than 3 years I am working full time on my current visa. But now, my employer has reduced my working hours to 23 hours a week. Is it a breach of any visa conditions?

This is a very important question.  The Department has recently announced Temporary Skill Shortage 482 and subclass 457 visa holders. Find out more

who have been stood down, but not laid off, will maintain a valid visa and businesses will have the opportunity to extend your visa as per normal arrangements. Businesses will be able to reduce your hours without you being in breach of your visa conditions or the business being in breach of their employer obligations.

Departmental advice states that if you have been laid off and are currently unemployed, you should find another employer within 60 days or make arrangements to leave Australia, where this is possible. If you cannot return to your home country, you need to maintain a valid visa and follow Australia’s health advice where necessary.

Our CEO Mark Glazbrook has been regularly speaking to the Department of Home Affairs, the media, state and federal politicians and senators, key industry groups and business leaders about this, advocating for reforms to the Job Seeker eligibility and regarding other challenges faced by temporary and provisional visa holders.  We will post any updates to our Facebook page, so please check our page regularly.

We believe that where possible affected 457/482 visa holders should try to lodge an application for a points tested general skilled migration (GSM) application if you find yourself out of work.  If you are able to apply for a GSM visa and you then have your 457/482 visa cancelled, this will provide you with an opportunity to appeal the cancellation (which will allow you to remain onshore) and where your visa is cancelled you will be granted a bridging visa E (BVE).  BVE’s don’t have automatic work rights, but you can seek permission to work due to financial hardship.

Please remember this information is provided as a basic guide only and with complicated matters such as 457/482 visa cancelation or assessing your eligibility to apply for a GSM visa in a very short time frame, including the need to have a positive skills assessment (and possibly requesting priority processing arrangements), you should seek independent advice and assistance.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook or register your email address with us so we can email you any updates, as they arise.  Please email us at admin@migrationsolutions.com.au and ask to register for COVID-19 Employer Sponsored visa updates.

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