As Covid-19 cases continue to surge around the world owing to new strains of the virus, many countries have gone back to reimposing lockdowns or higher restrictions in an attempt to reduce the number of cases.
Australia is sitting among the top 10 countries that best responded to the pandemic. This reflects on the low number of cases, deaths, and the exponential growth of its economy.
“In less than 12 months from when the recession began, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there are now more jobs in the Australian economy than there were before the pandemic,” Mr Morrison said.
There is no doubt that Australia has become more attractive than ever, however, who can enter and call Australia home in the current climate?
- Immediate Family of Australian Permanent Residents or Citizens
Exemptions to enter Australia only apply to Australian citizens, permanent residents, New Zealand citizens who are generally resident in Australia and immediate family members of Australian citizens and permanent residents. An immediate family member is defined as a spouse, dependent child or legal guardian.
The immediate family member will still require a visa to enter Australia.
- Resident Return Visa
To maintain your Permanent Residency, you MUST have a genuine intention to permanently reside in Australia.
As a general rule, in order to obtain a further resident return visa, you must have resided in Australia for at least 2 out of the 5 years.
There is no specific strategy to maintaining long term residency entitlement in Australia if you do not live permanently in Australia.Further information can be found on our article ‘Resident Return Visa‘.
- Temporary Residents
Australia’s international borders are currently closed to all temporary residents. This includes holders of student, 485, 482, 300, working holiday visas and/or your dependents stuck offshore.
Unfortunately, at this stage, you will not be able to obtain a travel exemption to enter Australia.
- Prospective Marriage Visa
Prospective Marriage (subclass 300) visa holders are considered temporary residents and cannot travel to Australia at present. Only under very limited circumstances can a subclass 300 visa holder obtain a travel exemption.
A person’s intention to marry their fiancé is not sufficient, in itself, to satisfy the definition of a de facto partnership.
If a Prospective Marriage visa holder is current living in a de-facto relationship and feels that would be able to satisfy the definition of being an immediate family member, they may consider applying for a Travel Exemption. Substantial evidence would need to be provided in support of such application.
Whilst the Department are still processing Prospective Marriage Visas, if approved, you will not necessarily be able to enter Australia and therefore the length of the 300 visa being granted is longer than the previous nine months to allow for travel when international borders do re-open.
- Employer Sponsorship and Skilled Migration
If you are offshore (outside of Australia) and receive a job offer from an Australian business, you will not receive a visa if you are not in an area of critical need that will assist with Australia’s economic recovery.
Only those working in areas of critical need or in an occupation listed on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL), will be permitted entry into Australia during this time.
If you are seeking a General Skilled Migration pathway, you may consider starting your application for a skills assessment and submitting an expression of Interest; however, whilst Australia’s international borders remain closed, you will not receive an invitation for any GSM application as the focus is on those currently in Australia who are employed in their nominated occupation and in particular, those on the PMSOL List.
- Parent Visas
There are currently no exemptions or exceptions to the rule for parents who are currently residing offshore even if they are a current holder of a temporary visa.
Parents are not eligible to apply for a temporary visa whilst outside of Australia due to the closure of our international borders.
The only visa available for them to apply for, whilst offshore, is the Contributory Parent Visa.
- Student Visas
You can still apply and be granted a student visa however, you will not be able to enter Australia due to the current travel ban on temporary residents and temporary visa holders.
It is possible to complete your course through online study.
What does it mean for your future?
Australia has strict border measures currently in place to protect the health of the Australian community. In addition, very limited flights are currently available to and from Australia. At this stage, we do not know how long our international borders will remain closed.
Whilst our borders are closed, we hope you continue working on your migration dreams by obtaining the necessary work experience in the field that you are passionate about but in a highly skilled occupation that assists with Australia’s economic future.
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