On 9 July 2020, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that there will be new visa arrangements for Hong Kong passport holders to remain in Australia, with pathways to Australia. Prime Minister Morrison announced that the intention of these arrangements would be to attract talent and companies to Australia in order to boost productivity and create further job opportunities for Australians.
The new arrangements may be summarised into two categories:
- Arrangements for current and future students from Hong Kong;
- Arrangements for current temporary skilled visa holders and future applicants for a temporary skilled visa holder.
The arrangements for students may be summarised as follows:
- Current and future student visa holders will be eligible for a five-year Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485) upon the completion of their studies.
- Former students already on a Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485) will be eligible for an extension of five years from 9 July 2020 in addition to the time they’ve already been in Australia, with a pathway to permanent residency at the end of that period.
- Students who study at a regional campus will continue to be able to access a pathway to permanent residency after three years.
Temporary Skilled Visa Holders
The arrangements for temporary skilled visa holders are as follows:
- Current temporary skilled visa holders from Hong Kong will be eligible for an extension of five years from 9 July 2020 in addition to the time they’ve already been in Australia, with a pathway to permanent residency at the end of that period.
- Future Hong Kong applicants for temporary skilled visas will be eligible for a five-year visa, provided they:
- meet occupational skills lists and Labour Market Testing requirements; or
- qualify through the Global Talent temporary visa scheme, which is for exceptional talent where the sponsoring employer pays above the Fair Work High Income Threshold of $153,600.
- These future temporary skilled visa holders will also have a pathway to permanent residency after five years.
In his interview with David Speers on ABC’s Insiders, Acting Minister for Immigration Alan Tudge appeared to confirm that these arrangements make use of the existing machinery already present in the Australian migration system for skilled migration. However, the regulations implementing these changes have not been published. Further, it is unclear as to whether the five-year extension would be for some or all streams of the subclass 485 visas, and for some or all streams of the subclass 482 visas.
Minister Tudge also confirmed that the humanitarian visa pathway is available for Hong Kong passport holders if they meet the requirements.
Given the amount of uncertainty as to how these arrangements will be implemented, we advise Hong Kong passport holders to contact Kah Lawyers on (02) 9689 3173 for a telephone or video conference.
Disclaimer: This information is current at the time of publication and subject to change. The contents of this blog post is provided for general information only and Kah Lawyers does not accept any liability for any damages suffered by persons who relied on this information. This information does not constitute legal advice and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice.