How does the Coronavirus (Covid-19) impact your Australian visa?
Updated: Apr 6, 2020
As we reestablished our businesses as a home office, we must not neglect the longevity of our talented employees.
Despite the help package to Australian businesses, a valid Australian visa is still a firm requirement which isn't going away soon.
There are a few changes to the migration & visa landscape which should be considered now to ensure you are covered for the medium and longer-term.
Visa application processing time
At this point, the Department Of Home Affairs ('The Department') will still process all visa applications, including sponsorship, nomination and work visa.
We believe processing time will take longer than usual as government case officers might also be impacted by Covid-19 and its collateral effect. At this point, we strongly suggest securing enough time to allow your next visa to be processed and granted.
Travelling outside Australia
How does Covid-19 impact your travel plans?
Conferences are mainly cancelled or moved online, but visiting a remote office or attending customer meetings might be a challenge.
Currently, there are still options to fly out of Australia. Bear in mind that many countries around the world won't allow foreigners into the country.
But if you are lucky to find your way in, you would mostly be required to stay in quarantine for at least 14 days. On top of that, an additional 14 days await when you are back in Australia.
Often we invite visitors, business visitors, customers or partners to Australia.
People who wish to travel into Australia on a visitor visa can still apply for a visitor visa.
However, due to the new policy which only permits Australian PR holders or Citizens to arrive into the country, foreigners can't enter at the moment.
An exemption exists for immediate family members.
If you are an employee who is currently holding a temporary work visa (457, TSS 482, 408 or 400) which is about to expire within the next two months, you should apply immediately for your next visa
Future changes to professions in demand
The Department continually reviews the occupations in demand and updates the work visa eligibility lists to fill market gaps.
We estimate that the big wave of unemployment, due to Covid-19's impact on the economy, will have a strong effect on the occupation lists. As a result, many of them will be taken off these lists.
What is relevant nowadays may no longer be relevant very soon.
Employers seeking to sponsor overseas talent
Due to the current situation, new overseas talent can't arrive in Australia.
It is an excellent opportunity to check the local market for locals and skilled overseas employees who are already in Australia.
Employees on working visa
If you are an employee who is currently holding a temporary work visa (457, TSS 482, 408 or 400) which is about to expire within the next two months, you should apply immediately for your next visa.
If your visa expires while you are in Australia, you might become unlawful and suffer immediate serious consequences which will block your ability to return to Australia in the future.
Student employees - can now work 40 hours
If your employee is holding a student visa, he might be available to increase his working hours.
If his academic institution decided to send him for his leave earlier than expected, he has full work rights until the next term begins.
Strategies for staying in Australia permanently
Permanent Resident - Skilled
The Department is still looking for skilled migrants. If you are one and already located in Australia, you are lucky!
The Department invites skilled applicants to apply for several Permanent Resident (PR) visas.
If you are in a De Facto relationship with an Australian PR visa holder or an Australian citizen, you might be eligible to apply for an Onshore Partner visa.
We believe the partner visa isn't going away anytime soon and is still one of the safest ways which will lead to staying in Australia permanently.
We can help identify if you are eligible to apply and support your visa pathway.
New students - high risk
The Covid-19 caused the local education providers to change their conventional systems and offer online studies or bring forward their school break earlier than expected.
At the moment, it is unclear whether new students can enrol for the next term or not.
Exemptions to visa holders due to Covid-19
If you have restricting conditions on your current visa like 'No further stay' (includes 8503, 8534 and 8535), this means you can't apply for most other visas before you leave Australia.
Or if you have condition 8558 (Non-resident cannot stay for more than 12 months in any 18 months period), you will need to apply for a new visa that suits your new needs.
The Department will consider waiving some of these restrictions on a case by case.
When dealing with The Department, an experienced migration agent will take you a long way.
We can help you apply for a waiver and keep you lawful in Australia.
LifeinAus are the experts in work visas and innovative legal pathways to staying in Australia permanently.