The Australian government has announced temporary measures to shield applications under Partner Visa and other Family Visa categories from the adverse impact of the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic had brought several uncertainties for applicants who had applied for their visas overseas but are currently in Australia. The current travel restrictions make it difficult for them to visit overseas to get their visa grants.
Under the COVID-19 Visa Concessions announced by the Australian government, which will be implemented in early 2021, applicants stuck in Australia will be able to continue the visa process. This comes as good news for those unable to travel offshore because of international travel restrictions. The much-needed flexibility to remain in Australia is nothing short of a godsend.
"The current changes will be temporary and may be reviewed when Australia’s international travel restrictions are lifted", said Alan Tudge, Australia’s Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs.
The change in rules is slated to help about 4000 visa applicants who are in Australia at the moment. A large number of them are Australia Partner Visa
applicants. As readers may know, the Australian government revised migration level plannings for 2020-21, doubling the number of places for Partner Visas. Authorities will accord priority to applicants who are already onshore. Almost 75% of the increased visa places are likely to be given to onshore applicants.
Who Will The COVID-10 Concessions Apply To?
These COVID-19 concessions, allowing applicants to stay in Australia and progress their visa, will apply to:
- Family (Subclass 309) Visa
- Prospective Marriage (Subclass 300) Visa
- Child Visa (Subclass 101)
- Adoption (Subclass 102) Visa
Further, under the new measures, changes are also coming to Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa or Subclass 870. When Subclass 870 is granted, the parent of an Australian citizen, Permanent Resident, or eligible NZ citizen can visit Australia for up to 3-5 years. An Australia Parent Visa (Subclass) 870
lets parents stay in the country temporarily for up to 5 years (at a time). As per the original rules, the parent has to stay outside Australia for a period of minimum 90 days, before they are eligible to apply for a further visa. An important criterion is that subclass 870 applicants must be outside Australia.
The new measures grant permission to Subclass 870 applicants lodge the visa onshore. The requirement of traveling offshore has been waived off due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions. While more specific information will be available in early 2020, these measures come as a relief to thousands of applicants caught unawares by sudden border closures.
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