Australia Government wants to ensure that Australia remains an attractive destination for tourists and temporary visa holders who often fill critical skills shortages, by offering refunds or waivers of Visa Application Charges (VAC).


Alan Tudge announced today that tourists, working holiday makers, seasonal and pacific workers, prospective partners and temporary skilled workers whose travel has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic will be eligible.



Visitor Visa (Subclass 600)


Visitor visa holders who are overseas and whose visas expired or will expire between March 2020 and December 2021 will be eligible for a waiver when they apply for a new visa.  




Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417&462)


Backpackers on Working Holiday Maker visas who have been unable to come to Australia or who had to leave Australia early due to COVID-19 will also be eligible for a waiver, when they decide to return to Australia.


Those who are unable to return because they have passed the age limit for a Working Holiday Maker visa will be able to claim a refund.


Temporary Work (Subclass 403)


Seasonal Worker Program and Pacific Labour Scheme visa holders will also be eligible for a refund of the VAC if they were granted a visa before 20 March 2020 and have been unable to travel to Australia due to COVID-19


Visa conditions for these workers have also been temporarily relaxed and options are available for them to extend their stay in Australia for up to 12 months to support the agriculture sector.



Temporary Skilled Visas (Subclass 457/482)


Due to travel restrictions there are many 457/482 visa holders who have not made their initial entry to Australia, or have returned home due to COVID-19 and may wish to apply again.


Subsequent skilled visa applications will still be subject to the strict labour market testing requirements to ensure Australians have first priority for jobs.



Prospective Marriage Visa (Subclass 300)


The Prospective Marriage visa provides holders with nine months to travel to Australia to marry an Australian citizen or permanent resident.


VAC refunds will be available for Prospective Marriage visa holders who have been unable to enter Australia before their visa expired, due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions.


Refunds will ensure these visa holders are able to apply for another visa to travel to Australia and hold their wedding once travel restrictions are lifted. For those visas that have already expired, any new application will be prioritised.


Visa extensions will be available for Prospective Marriage visa holders whose visas are still valid.



The above visa waiver methods has not yet been officially announced, but as soon as we have an update, we will keep you well informed.


Lastly, let's summarise each state sponsor after the Budget 2020-21 was announced (because the states have not yet received the funds, so the general direction is to follow the previous transition policy, it will more or less give an indication on the direction of future policies):


QLD - state sponsorship remains closed, once it opens, it will consider 491 Small Business Owners pathway first. And other business migration or other types of migration that can help create job opportunities for the local Government. QLD is expected to open state sponsorship in December.


NSW - transition policy still remains, but the new direction will be towards business migration, engineering and IT. Currently 190 can still be submitted in accordance with the transition policy. But for 491 it will likely be independent invitation by each rural region. We will always keep an eye on the development of each region.


VIC - transition policy is still applicable, the applicants still need to register for interest first, and the Government also mainly invites applicants who have made economic contributions to the local area and those who can provide medical services and resources. The previous graduates and higher education channels are no longer applicable, the applicants mainly needs to proof their contributions to the local economy and medical contributions as the main invitation conditions.  


TAS - still maintains the previously updated transition policy, and believes that this policy will remain unchanged for a long time, and there may be minor changes after all quotas are issued in November.  In addition, for overseas applicants, the occupational scope of Tasmania will gradually expand from medical workers to other industries in the future.  


ACT - is still issuing invitations step by step in accordance with the transitional policy.  


SA - is currently in accordance with the transitional policy. After receiving all the quotas, the Government has indicated that it may make certain changes in South Australia's application requirements. 


WA - remains closed and no new information has been released.


NT -  still maintains its transitional policy, while the Government vigorously supports business investment.  After the quota has been released, it is expected that business immigration should be the main focus.


Above is the summary of various new policy updated from 12th October, Monday. If you have any questions, please contact us!