We have put together two videos discussing this topic and will continue to bring you updates as we all move the Coronvirus situation.
VIDEO 1 -Coronavirus - Australian Travel Bans, Student & Visitor Visa Holders Options and The Rush Back
1.Travel Bans affecting International Students, Partners and more
From 9pm AEDT 20 March 2020, only Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members can travel to Australia.
All travellers to Australia are required to self-isolate for 14 days, either at home or in a hotel.
Travel restrictions are subject to change. Some exemptions are in place.
2. Options for those in Australia with an Expiring Visa
Temporary visa holders including visitor visas and student visas, may not want to return to their homelands, given the threat of the Coronavirus.
The Department of Home Affairs has provided advice that applying for a visitor visa may be the best option.
This may involve having to ask for a waiver of a no further stay condition. Work Visa Lawyers are more than happy to assist with this.
3. The Big Rush Back to Australia
The visa holders who are offshore wanting to return to Australia
Having worked as a registered migration agent for 14 years, I have seen many instances where people have said to me,
they want to obtain Australian permanent resident or Australian citizenship as a backup.
Such clients may still live outside of Australia perhaps working in more lucrative markets such as Hong Kong or Dubai,
but wanting to have the opportunity to return to and live in Australia if the situation arises.
There must be many hundreds of thousands or perhaps over 1 million people in such a situation.
As the world faces a coronavirus pandemic, I believe it’s quite likely that there will be a big rush back to Australia
by Australian citizens and also permanent residents who have been living overseas for a long time.
Video 2 - Coronavirus : Australian Immigration Policy Changes & TSS 482 Losses for temporary workers
4. Effects on employer sponsored visas
The global financial crisis of 2008/ 2009 which extended into an ongoing global downturn can provide some insight as to what migration settings might follow a crisis.
Some 457 and TSS 482 visa holders may lose their jobs and sponsors.
These visas have a condition that they cannot cease employment, usually for no longer than 60 days.
These 457 holders face the difficult challenge of having to try and secure a new employer to be able to keep their visas, at a time when there were few employment opportunities.
5. Changes to Migration Policy
In the years leading up to the GFC the permanent migration levels were set at 190,000 people per year for 2008 and 2009.
The migration planning levels were reduced to 168,700 a year for 2010, and this is in line with the more difficult economic times Australia faced.
The current coronavirus pandemic is also creating difficult economic situations, where it is likely that there will be job losses across a number of industries
including hospitality and tourism, film and tertiary education.
So, following on from what happened in the global financial crisis, there is a possibility that in the next year or so the federal government might seek to reduce
the overall migration planning levels. The current levels of planning levels in 2020 are at 162,000 a year.
There was another policy setting change following the GFC, from around 2009, which was that the department changed its priority processing arrangements,
with a view to only processing those bases which were thought to be a higher priority for the current situation.
At that time there was a large backlog of skilled migration visas and due to a failure to review the lists and also consider how valuable the types of applications were in the pipeline.
A large number of applications for occupations which might not have been in a great shortage, with the biggest example being accountants and hairdressers.
The change in polarity meant that regional migration bases were given priority and that some other pieces and particular independent bases and family sponsored pieces were given low priority.
In the end some of these visas actually took up to 4 or five years of processing to be cleared and this was very frustrating for the applicants of those visas.
The result of the coronavirus pandemic might be changes or tightening or raising of immigration requirements.
Therefore it would be a good idea for those that think they might be eligible for an Australian Visa to consider applying before the requirements become more difficult.
6. Visa applications and things not to do!
ConclusionIt may feel terribly difficult to plan anything much less make life changing decisions about migration.
The bright side to the situation is that the visa application processing these days is digital and face to face meetings are not an essential requirement. In particular Immigration SA have been operating using telephone business interviews only since early February.
Work Visa Lawyers have always offered initial and ongoing consultations via Skype and telephone and will continue to do so.
We are always happy to meet with our clients using these methods to ensure that we keep the lines of communication open in order to keep the application process moving and working towards a possible outcome.
Our thoughts are with anyone physically suffering with the virus or has been obstructed from going about their everyday life.
Work Visa Lawyers will continue to provide you the best level of service and migration advice regardless and are here to help.
So please contact us if you have any queries on how the coronavirus could affect your migration status.