On 2 Mar 2022, the office for Minister Hawke announced a number of enhancements the Australian Government are making to certain temporary visa subclasses. The enhancements have been designed with the focus of supporting Australia’s economic recovery post-COVID.

These include:

Skilled-Recognised Graduate (Subclass 476) visa holders

Eligible Skilled-Recognised Graduate (Subclass 476) visa holders who lost time in Australia as a result of COVID-19 international border restrictions will have their visas extended for 24 months.

This would allow current and former Skilled-Recognised Graduate visa holders to enter, or remain in, Australia until April 2024.

This extension is expected to take effect in April 2022.

Training (Subclass 407) visa holders

Similar to Student (Subclass 500) visa holders, Training (Subclass 407) visa holders will now be able to work additional hours across all sectors of the economy effective immediately.

Access to COVID-19 Pandemic Event (Subclass 408) visas

Temporary visa holders with work rights will be able to access the COVID-19 Pandemic Event (Subclass 408) visa incurring no Visa Application Charge for a period of 6 or 12 months if they work in any sector of the Australian economy. 

Currently, this visa is available only to those working in critical sectors such as agriculture, food processing, health care, aged care, disability care, child care, and tourism and hospitality.

The new arrangements will only be available for Pandemic Event visa applications made on or after 21 February 2022 by:

  • Temporary visa holders who were in Australia prior to 21 February 2022; as well as
  • Temporary visa holders who arrive in Australia after 21 February 2022 and have work rights or a job offer from a Commonwealth funded aged care service at time of application.

These changes come as welcome news to temporary visa holders who have been hardest hit by Australia’s COVID-19 lockdowns and border restrictions.

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