The start of the financial year on 1 July means a resetting of spots in Australia’s migration program, opening up new opportunities for people from overseas. But this year also presents some key changes for certain visa holders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Visa changes from 1 July will offer skilled workers new pathways to permanent residency, more places for working holiday makers and the chance for graduates impacted by COVID-19 border closures to make up for their time locked out of Australia.
Ben Watt, a lawyer with migration agents VisaEnvoy, said the changes presented “exciting” prospects for some, with a focus on supporting the economic recovery from COVID-19.
“It is very difficult for a lot of people and a lot of industries to fill staff shortages, especially in certain skilled fields,” he said.
Mr Watt also said the 1 July changes were being viewed as a reward to certain visa holders that toughed it out and remained in Australia during the pandemic.
“There were a lot of difficulties for people who were here on temporary visas during COVID because there was a lot of uncertainty.
“A lot of people lost their jobs or got stood down, they weren’t able to access welfare.
“There were all sorts of difficult things that the cohort of temporary visa holders encountered.”
Here are some of the key changes:
Temporary skill shortage visas
Temporary skill shortage (TSS) subclass 482 visa holders will find it easier to apply for permanent residency.
In Australia, as of 31 March, there were 52,440 people on the 482 visas, or related 457 visas, which ceased offering new places to applicants in March 2018.
From 1 July, those visa holders can apply for the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) visa, which lets skilled workers who are nominated by their employer to live and work in Australia permanently.
But the new pathway will only be accessible for two years from this date.