In response to ongoing workforce and industry shortages due to the recent omicron COVID-19 wave hitting Australia, the government has announced some big changes for the following visa holders:
- Student (Subclass 500)
- Working Holiday (Subclass 417/462), and
- Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485) visa holders.
The changes are effective immediately and include the following:
- Due to current workforce shortages, the Government is temporarily removing the limit on Student visa holders’ working hours across all sectors of the economy. This measure takes effect immediately for all ongoing students as well as new student arrivals who start a job prior to their course commencement and will be reviewed in April 2022.
- In addition, effective immediately and until the end of 2022, there will be no limit on the length of time Working Holiday visa holders can work for the same employer.
- Working Holiday visa holders who are currently offshore and come to Australia during the next 12 weeks will be eligible for a refund of their Visa Application Charge.
- Any Student visa holder who is currently offshore and comes to Australia over the next 8 weeks, will be eligible for a refund of their Visa Application Charge.
- Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485) visa holders may be eligible to have their visas extended automatically until 30 September 2022. Those eligible will be notified by the Department of Home Affairs directly.
- A new Covid-19 stream for Temporary Graduate visa holders has also been announced coming into effect on 01 July 2022.
These temporary changes are designed to target critical workforce shortages faced by Australian businesses to ensure they are able to continue delivering goods and services to the community, both immediately and in the near future.
Student, Working Holiday and Temporary Graduate visas are on the list of new arrangements for eligible visa holders which came into effect on 15 December 2021. Under these arrangements, holders of these visas will not require a travel exemption to enter Australia if they are fully vaccinated or hold a valid medical exemption.
If these measures may impact you or you have any questions, we encourage you to contact us of the team at Visa Solutions Australia as they are experts across a wide range of visas and able to assist with any queries you may have surrounding these changes.