The Government is making it easier for highly skilled migrants to remain in Australia and to continue working in critical sectors as Australia’s road to post-pandemic economic recovery continues. Due to the unprecedented labour shortages across Australia, the Government is choosing to make pathways to Permanent Residency and Australian Citizenship easier for foreign workers who chose to stay and assist with Australia’s economic recovery throughout the pandemic.
Eligible skilled workers in Australia, who are needed to continue supporting local and small business facing critical skill shortages, will be retained to work in Australia under changed visa pathways. These visa changes will improve access to permanent residence for:
- Existing Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa holders in the short-term stream (not restricted to specific sectors); and
- Legacy Temporary Work Skilled (subclass 457) visa holders who no longer meet the age requirement.
Workers who hold the above visas will have enhanced pathways to PR and, eventually, Australian Citizenship. Formal legislation to action these changes and enhanced pathways are to be tabled and implemented by the middle of the year.
What do you do if your TSS 482/457 visa expires within this period?
If your occupation is on the short-term stream and you cannot lodge a further TSS 482 visa application, you may be eligible to apply for the ‘Australian Government Endorsed Event’ Subclass 408 (COVID-19 Pandemic) Visa. The Government has expressed no intention of ceasing new applications for this visa, allowing those who wish to continue working in Australia’s critical sectors further time in Australia while these new pathways are being developed.
The purpose of this visa to allow workers to remain in Australia and continue working in the following critical sectors in aid of Australia’s post COVID-19 pandemic economic recovery:
- food processing
- health care
- aged care
- disability care
- child care, and
- tourism and hospitality
This visa is strictly for onshore applicants who hold a substantive visa, or have had a substantive visa expire within the last 28 days. This visa also allows applicants to stay for up to 12 months if they are working in the critical sectors.
This visa is also open to those not working in critical sectors, but to those who simply need more time to leave the country due to border closures (up to 3 months). However, the upcoming border reopening on 21 February 2022 will make these applications especially difficult to succeed.
If your TSS 482/457 Visa is to expire between now and when these new measures are introduced, please don’t hesitate to contact our migration lawyers to review your eligibility for an interim COVID-19 Pandemic Visa.