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Australia Granting Easy Permanent Residence to Hong Kong Passport Holders

Australia Granting Easy Permanent Residence to Hong Kong Passport Holders

On 28 October 2021, new laws were released in Australia to make immigration from Hong Kong easier. The new Migration Legislation Amendment (Hong Kong) Regulations 2021 will allow Hong Kongers who are currently working or studying in Australia to achieve permanent residency quickly and easily.

This follows the changes already made in July to give Hong Kong applicants priority processing for skilled visas. 

Two pathways to Australian Permanent Residence will be available to both Hong Kong SAR passport and British National (Overseas) passport holders from 05 March 2022. 

Pathway 1: Subclass 189 Hong Kong Stream

To be eligible for this visa, you must have:

  1. Held one of the following visas for at least 4 years
    1. Subclass 457 visa
    2. Subclass 482 visa
    3. Subclass 485 visa; and
  2. Been usually residing in Australia for a continuous period of at least 4 years immediately before the date of application

There are NO requirements for:

  • English
  • Skills Assessment
  • EOI points
  • Income

The Hong Kong Stream requires the least of all 189 visa streams. It also has a broader definition of Member of the Family Unit, and offers Health Waiver to all applicants.

 

Broader definition of "Member of the Family Unit"

A Secondary Applicant is a Member of the Family Unit and can be included in the 189 Hong Kong Stream application even if they are over the age of 23, provided they are a secondary visa holder of the above 3 visas as a Member of the Family Unit.

Health Waiver

Unlike the 189 points-based stream, the Health Criteria for the 189 Hong Kong stream is 4007, which may be waived by the Minister.

 

Pathway 2: Subclass 191 Hong Kong Stream (Regional)

To be eligible for this visa, you must have:

  1. Held one of the following visas for at least 3 years:
    1. Subclass 457 visa
    2. Subclass 482 visa
    3. Subclass 485 visa
  2. During the 3 years ending immediately before the date of application, not lived, worked or studied in part of Australia that was not a designated regional area
  3. Been usually residing in Australia for a continuous period of at least 3 years immediately before the date of application

The normal income requirement of meeting the threshold of AUD53,900 is NOT applied to 191 Hong Kong Stream. 

 

Visa Extensions and Auto-Renewals

The Federal Government has now included holders of BNO passports in the benefits that were granted in July for HK SAR passport holders.  The 2020 changes extended all graduate and skilled worker visas of Hong Kong SAR passport holders to 5 years.  To include BNO passport holders, the rule now applies to them also and retrospectively from 09 July 2020.  This means if you are a BNO holder and your Australian passport has expired since 09 July 2021, your visa may have been already been automatically extended!

 

Pros and Cons

Obviously these legislative changes are welcome news for Hongkongers already in Australia and those seeking to escape the political turmoil of their home nation. But there are many who will feel disaffected by the changes too.  Immigrants from other countries may question why Hong Kong gets special treatment and they do not.  Refugees fleeing war torn Afghanistan will be wondering why they haven't been granted such concessions.  And of course, holders of temporary graduate visas which expired while they are outside Australia during Covid will be demanding to know why their visas can't be extended too.  It is unclear precisely why the Department of Home Affairs has chosen to grant such privileges only to a select few and we have no doubt there are many who will feel hurt and offended by this decision.  Sadly, we have little influence over the decisions of our Government, but we are very glad to welcome all HKSAR and BNO passport holders to Australia.

 

Author:

Wendy

Wendy Guan, Registered Migration Agent at Work Visa Lawyers

 

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Disclaimer

This information is correct at the time of publication but is subject to change without notice.  All information provided on this page is provided for purely educational purposes and does not constitute legal advice.  For advice on your situation, please speak with an Immigration Lawyer or a Registered Migration Agent.

 

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