COVID concessions for multiple visa subclasses

COVID Visa Concessions

Partners, contributory parent and child visas – Onshore grants announced 

From 27 February 2021 (inclusive) the following visas will be able to be granted while the applicant is in Australia, even though these usually require the applicant to travel offshore. 

  • Partner (subclass 309) visa 
  • Prospective Marriage (subclass 300) visa 
  • Child (subclass 101) visa 
  • Adoption (subclass 102) visa 
  • Dependent Child (subclass 445) visa 

This temporary concession is for eligible applicants who are in Australia and are not able to travel offshore to be granted their visa because of COVID-19 travel restrictions. 

The same concession will commence for eligible parent visa applicants on 24 March 2021: 

  • Contributory Parent (subclass 173) visa 
  • Contributory Parent (subclass 143) visa 
  • Parent (subclass 103) visa 

Current processing timeframes for Parent visa applications would not be impacted by these amendments.  

Further information is available on the Department of Home Affairs website. 

Subclass 485 – Temporary Graduate – Offshore lodgement and grant permitted 

Concessions have been granted to all SC 485 streams, the Graduate Work, the Post Study Work and the Second Post Study Work streams, to allow eligible visa applicants to lodge and be granted their visa while they are outside Australia, if impacted by COVID travel restrictions during the concession period that commenced on 1 February 2020. 

Subsequent entrants may also be onshore or offshore for lodgement and grant. 

See the Department’s website for further information on these concessions for SC 485 applicants. 

Subclass 790 – Safe Haven Enterprise Visas – Pathway concessions 

The Department of Home Affairs is extending COVID concessions to SHEV holders who will now be able to meet the pathway requirements, even where they have: 

  • accessed Special Benefit payments or 
  • were are unemployed, or 
  • worked outside a SHEV regional area in an essential service 

See the Department of Home Affairs website for further information on these concessions. 

Subclass 888 – Business Innovation Visa – Residency requirements

Applicants for Subclass 888 visas must usually have been physically present in Australia for a least 1 year in the 2 years immediately before they apply. 

During the COVID concession period which commenced on 1 February 2020, time spent overseas may be counted as being time spent in Australia if the applicant held one of the following visas: 

  • Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188) Business Innovation stream 
  • Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188) Business Innovation Extension stream 

The first visa in the Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188) in the Business Innovation stream must have been granted on or before 30 June 2019. 

See the Department of Home Affairs website for further details 

Subclass 887 – Skilled Regional Visas – Onshore /offshore concessions 

Applicants outside Australia 

Eligible applicants make their visa application outside Australia and be granted the visa while outside Australia during the COVID concession period, commencing 1 February 2020. 

These applicants will also be given access to the following shorter employment requirements and shorter residency requirements during the concession period: 

  • 9 months full-time work in a specified regional area. A concession of 3 months off the usual 12 month period (or, if the Minister specifies a shorter period in a legislative instrument, that shorter period), and 
  • 18 months residence in a specified regional area. A concession of 6 months off the usual 2 year period (or, if the Minister specifies a shorter period in a legislative instrument, that shorter period). 

Applicants inside Australia

Eligible applicants applying onshore will still be required to meet the 2 years of residence in a specified regional. They will also receive the 3 month employment concession of: 

  • 9 months full-time work in a specified regional area (or, if the Minister specifies a shorter period in a legislative instrument, that shorter period). 

Further information is available on the Department of Home Affairs website 

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