Australian COVID-19 visa concessions ended 25 November 2023

Australian COVID-19 visa concessions ended 25 November 2023

By federal legislative instrument, providing only 24 hours’ notice post registration, the COVID-19 concession period for Australian visas ended effective 25 November 2023.

All good things come to an end, and that’s exactly what happened to numerous COVID-19 concessions for Australian visa holders and applicants that have been in place since 1 February 2020 in various forms.

What was the original purpose of the COVID visa concessions?

The introduction of the concession period was to assist specified temporary and provisional visa holders, who would otherwise have been disadvantaged by the consequences of the pandemic, which included:

  • border closures;
  • cessation of in-person study environments;
  • business restrictions; and
  • the overall adverse impact that the economy experienced.

During the COVID visa concession period, there were many beneficial changes that made allowances for the unique and difficult circumstances faced by people travelling and those forced to remain onshore.

What changes have been made to COVID visa concessions since 25 November 2023?

Many visa categories had concessions applied, including:

  • employer-sponsored;
  • family visas; and
  • temporary graduate visas.

For more details on all the visa categories and what the changes are since 25 November 2023, refer to the Department of Home Affairs website.

Some concessions remain embedded in the migration regulations

There are some concessions that remain embedded in the migration regulations that have not yet been ceased (including for people who applied for a visa during the concession period, which remains undecided). Some other people, who were preparing to submit an application relying on the concessions (including beneficial policy changes), may face issues.

One such cohort that has come to light is student visa holders now looking to apply for a subclass 485 visa, who were intending to rely on offshore online study to meet the Australian study requirement. COVID-19 travel restrictions impacted a large number of international students who left Australia to visit family at the end of the academic year (in late 2019 and early 2023). They were left with no other option but to utilise the online study format at the time.

Get help from a migration agent

It remains to be seen whether action will be taken to amend any unforeseen disadvantages these changes (which came into effect from 25 November 2023) will have on future visa applicants. One thing it does highlight is the importance of seeking up-to-date advice from a registered migration agent or migration lawyer who can assist you to get it right the first time.

Contacting Hall Payne Lawyers

You can contact us by phone or email to arrange your consultation; either face-to-face at one of our offices, by telephone or by videoconference consultation.

Phone: 1800 659 114
Email: general@hallpayne.com.au

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Leanne Taylor

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