10 Things You Must Know About Covid 19 Update In 2021 for Immigrants in Australia

April 14, 2021    immigrationlawyersblog   
10 Things You Must Know About Covid 19 Update In 2021 for Immigrants in Australia

Covid-19 has completely transformed how countries, nations, and people live and operate. Quite naturally, there have been changes in all spheres and professional sectors and the immigration as well as citizenship processes are no exception.

On the wake of this pandemic, the immigration processes in Australia also underwent some crucial changes, and it’s here that we would discuss the ten most important things that immigrants in Australia should know about.

  • Border Restrictions

The border restrictions for immigrants commenced from 20th March, 2020. The Australian government has declared that Australia’s current border restrictions will be extended until 17 June, 2021. Although, Quarantine-Free Travel has been announced for commercial airlines, border restrictions are still applicable on private flights and the maritime boundary.

  • Temporary Concessions

Temporary concessions have been granted to student visa holders to allow them to work for more than 40 hours each fortnight in specific industries. They must follow the Australian workplace law. This declaration was supposed to cease on 1 May, 2020 for the supermarket sector. The temporary concessions are still applicable as of 2021.

  • Global Talent Independent Visa Program (GTI Visa Program)

The Australian government has declared an extension in its Global Talent Visa Program. The GTI is applicable on selected 10 target sectors and is for migrants highly skilled in one of the ten target sectors, highly qualified PhD graduates or migrants who can confirm the ability to earn a high income. Here’s a quick look at the targeted sectors:

Target Sectors List

  • Resources
  • AgTech and Agri-food
  • Energy
  • Health Industries
  • Advanced Manufacturing and Space
  • Defense
  • DigiTech
  • Infrastructure and Tourism
  • FinTech
  • Financial services
  • Education
  • Quarantine Travel Exemptions For Specific Industry Workers

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has granted travel exemptions from the 14-day mandatory self-isolation protocol for the following:

  • Red Zone Flight Crew - This includes the airline crew, medical evacuation team and air ambulance crew. Off-shift crew who are travelling as passengers in a flight to shift over to another location are also granted exempt. Airline crew on international flights have to maintain self-isolation for 14 days until their next international flight.
  • Green Zone Flight Crew – The airline crew, medical evacuation team and air ambulance crew on green zone flights should be staying in Australia or New Zealand for the preceding 14 days to be eligible for the quarantine exemption. They might be subjected to a health screening upon arrival in Australia for the state safety measures.
  • Government Official Travel - Government officials need to maintain self-isolation for 14 days upon arrival in Australia. They must carry an Australian Government issued Official or Diplomat passport for official travel purposes. They are not allowed to board a domestic flight within 14 days upon arrival in Australia. They need to comply with all state health protocols and requirements.
  • Temporary Work Visa Concessions

Temporary Skilled Shortage visa (subclass 482) and Temporary Work Skilled visa holders who have been stood down but not terminated from the workplace can still maintain their visa validity.

If 482 or 457 visa holders get laid off or terminated, they have to find a new sponsor within the required visa grant time period. If employers or businesses decide to cut down employee working hours, they will not be considered to be in breach of their obligations.

  • Individual Travel Exemption

You might be granted a travel exemption for compassionate and compelling reasons which include but is not limited to the death or serious illness of a close family member. Application for an exemption should be requested prior to at least 2 weeks before travelling.

  • Working Holiday Maker Visa Update

Working Holiday Maker Visa holders working in critical sectors such as health, agriculture, food processing, aged, disability and childcare can apply for a 2nd or 3rd Working Holiday Maker visa. Immigration lawyer consultation sessions could help keep up with changing visa and immigration conditions in Australia.

  • Temporary Concessions On Family Visa

A person applying for a parent/child visa outside Australia during Covid-19 can be granted a visa despite them being in Australia, if they meet all the other visa grant requirements.

A person applying for a parent/child visa in Australia during Covid-19 can be granted a visa despite them being outside Australia, if they meet all the other visa grant requirements. Visa lawyers could be consulted before applying as concession updates are subject to change from time to time.

  • International Passenger Arrival Caps

The Australian National Cabinet agreed to increase international passenger caps from 15 February, 2021. The decision was taken to instil confidence back into returning Australian travellers and to safely accommodate them post-quarantine.

  • Quarantine-Free Travel (QFT)

Quarantine-free flights between Australia and New Zealand will be available for travel from 18 April, 2021 at 11:59 pm. To qualify for QFT, a traveller has to meet the Pre-Travel Criteria and fill in an online Travel Declaration form. The travel declaration form will be available from 14 April, 2021. An Australian or New Zealand citizen is eligible for QFT as long as they fulfil the aforementioned criteria. Others need to have a visa or a valid New Zealand electronic Travel Authority.

Parting Note

Australian immigrants unsure about visa applications or immigration-related protocols and concessions can consult a visa lawyer or an immigration lawyer in Perth for proper guidance.

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