Australian Immigration, in a recent announcement, the Prime Minister stated that there would be significant changes for students (Subclass 500), working holidaymakers (Subclass 417/462), and temporary graduate (Subclass 485) visa holders. The reforms are being implemented to ensure that Australia will no longer experience a workforce shortage. If you are a holder of any of the visas mentioned above, you must be aware of these immediate changes.
The following is a summary of the changes:
- The government is temporarily lifting the restriction on the number of hours that student visa holders may work across all sectors of the economy, citing current workforce shortages. For all current students and new student arrivals who begin working before starting their course, this provision will take effect immediately, with a review scheduled for April 20, 2022.
- Working holiday visa holders will be able to work for the same employer for as long as they choose, starting now and lasting until the end of 2022.
- Holders of Working Holiday visas who are now residing overseas and who return to Australia within the next 12 weeks will be entitled to a refund of their visa application fee.
- A refund of the visa application fee will be provided to any student visa holder who is currently overseas and returns to Australia within the next eight weeks.
- Visa holders holding a Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485) visa may be able to have their visas automatically extended until September 30, 2022. The Department of Home Affairs will contact those who are eligible.
- Also announced was the creation of a new COVID-19 stream for holders of temporary graduate visas, which will take effect on July 1, 2022.
To guarantee that Australian businesses can continue supplying products and services to the community, the measures outlined above are short-term and aimed at addressing significant worker shortages.