On 18th March 2022, a legislative instrument has just been released outlining a pathway to permanent residency from 1st of July 2022. The changes that have opened a new pathway to permanent residency for skilled workers who have been living and working in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the Australian government will allow Subclass 482 visa holders in the short-term stream to access permanent residency through the Subclass 186 Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) visa. Certain foreign nationals who previously held 457 visas but now hold 482 visas will also be eligible for permanent residency.
The Australian Government is making it easier for highly skilled migrants to remain in Australia and to continue working in critical sectors as Australia’s economic recovery continues.
- Australia offers a permanent residency pathway to certain skilled migrants to address the skill shortage
- Government to provide visa extensions to skilled regional (provisional visa) holders (subclass 489, 491 and 494)
- Government announces new visa settings for temporary graduate visa holders (subclass 485)
Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alex Hawke said these measures recognize the contribution of skilled migrants who remained here during the COVID-19 pandemic and encourage them to stay in Australia.
The main winners from the temporary concession, which affects primary holders of the temporary skill shortage 482 visa and holders of the now-discontinued 457 visa, will be workers employed in the health and hospitality industries as well as all occupations on the STSOL list.
These visa changes will improve access to permanent residence for:
- Existing Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa holders in the short-term stream
- Legacy Temporary Work Skilled (subclass 457) visa holders who no longer meet the age requirement.
Previously, temporary skill shortage visa holders in the “short-term” stream were restricted to a two-year stay in Australia without a pathway to permanent residence (such as cooks).
The measure should provide some modest relief to employers struggling to find workers.
Job vacancies in the hospitality industry have increased by 87 per cent since the start of the pandemic, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, while openings in the healthcare industry are up by 72 per cent.
Permanent Residency for Skilled Workers
The Subclass 482 visa is Temporary Skill Shortage visa designed to allow employers to sponsor a suitably skilled foreign worker to fill a position for which a qualified Australian candidate cannot be found. The Subclass 482 visa features several “streams,” including the short- and mid-term streams as well as the labor agreement stream, each of which allows the foreign national to live and work in Australia for a specified period of time. For the short-term stream, a foreign national may typically stay in Australia for 2-4 years, but until now, these foreign nationals were ineligible for permanent residency through this subclass.
Under the terms of the government’s announcement, Subclass 482 visa holders in the short-term stream will be allowed to access permanent residency through the Subclass 186 TRT visa as of July 1, 2022. To be eligible, the candidate must meet the following requirements:
- Hold a Subclass 482 visa (short-term stream) as the primary visa holder in the nominated occupation under their nominating employer, or a Bridging visa granted after applying for a Subclass 482 visa (short-term stream).
- Have spent a cumulative total of at least 12 months in Australia from February 1, 2020, through December 14, 2021.
- Currently work for their nominating employer in their nominated occupation.
- Have worked or will work in their nominated occupation for 3 years full-time for their nominating employer in the preceding 4 years.
The new program also provides a pathway to permanent residency for foreign nationals who transitioned from the 457 Skilled Worker visa to the 482 Temporary Skill Shortage visa before the 457 visa was replaced on April 18, 2017. In addition to the requirements stated above, foreign nationals who have worked or will work in their nominated occupation in the Subclass 457/482 visa category for 2 years full-time in the preceding 3 years are eligible for permanent residence.
All candidates for permanent residence must also meet other specified requirements, including English-language competency, being under 45 years of age (or exempt from age requirements), good character requirements, and health requirements.
PR Pathway for STSOL Occupations:
A new pathway to permanent residency has been announced by the Australian Government for occupations on the Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL). The following eligibility criteria apply:
- Must hold a temporary skill shortage (Subclass 482 ) visa
- Must have been in Australia for at least 12 months from 1st February 2020 to 14th December 2021
- Must be employed and sponsored by a lawful business in Australia
- Occupation must be on STSOL list
- Must have worked in your nominated occupation, on a subclass 482 visa for at least 3 out of 4 years with the sponsoring employer prior to submitting the 186 nomination application.
Extensions for skilled regional (provisional visa) holders:
The Government will also extend visas for skilled regional (provisional visa) holders (subclass 489, 491 and 494) in recognition that this cohort has been adversely affected by COVID-19 related travel restrictions.
“Current and expired skilled regional provisional visas will be extended, providing additional time to meet regional work requirements for permanent residence,” the immigration minister said.
“There are currently around 9,000 skilled regional provisional visa holders overseas. These visa holders can enter Australia from 1 December 2021, and they will also be eligible for an extension of their visa,” he said.
Visitor visa applicants overseas
In recognition of ongoing border arrangements, the Government will also extend by a further six-months Visa Application Charge waivers for new Visitor visa applicants overseas where their visa expired, or will expire, between 1 January 2022 and 30 June 2022.
“This measure will support the tourism industry by welcoming back visitors once it is safe to do so,” Minister Hawke said.
In addition, the government has also announced a raft of visa changes to support hundreds of Temporary Graduate visa holders (subclass 485) stranded overseas, including a provision of replacement visas for those whose visas have expired and a year-long extension on the length of their stay.
Education Minister Alan Tudge and Immigration Minister Alex Hawke have agreed on changes that will allow 30,000 students whose visas have expired after February 1, 2020 to reapply for a new 485 visa of the same duration as their original one.
Graduates of masters by coursework programs, who numbered 170,000 pre-pandemic, will also be able to stay on to work for three years instead of two and vocational education graduates will be eligible for a two-year temporary visa.
Certain Visa Categories Not Included:
While the new program will provide a pathway to permanent residency for many foreign nationals who were previously ineligible, it does not make any special provisions for holders of non-Subclass 482 visas. For example, foreign nationals holding Subclass 408 Temporary Activity visas, which allow foreign nationals to stay in Australia for specific types of work on a temporary basis, are not eligible for the program.
Novaturient is a Licensed Immigration consultant that offer Visa services in acquiring Permanent Resident Visa, Student Visa and Visit Visa for countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Schengen Countries and the UK.
Call us: 9731473738