Australian Government announces new travel concessions for certain family visa applicants.
The Australian Immigration Department has advised that temporary concessions for certain Family visa applicants affected by COVID-19 travel restrictions are to be implemented by end of February 2021.
Some visa categories require applicants to be outside Australia when the visa application is finalised. In practice this means that applicants must fly out of Australia to allow their visas to be approved. In light of Covid-19 travel restrictions, many applicants were unable to depart Australia leaving them stranded onshore with no visa they applied for offshore and often with no work rights. Many argued changes in law to allow visas to be approved in-country.
A private member’s bill (‘’common sense bill’’) granting the minister the temporary power to issue any visa onshore during the pandemic was put forward in December 2020.
The Department has now advised that the changes expected to come into effect on 27th February 2021. The change will allow some Family stream visas, which have been applied for outside Australia, to be granted while the visa applicant is in Australia. This temporary concession will benefit mainly family visa applicants who arrived in Australia after lodging their applications offshore.
The concession would apply to eligible applicants for the following Partner and Child visa subclasses:
• Child (subclass 101) visa
• Adoption (subclass 102) visa
• Dependent Child (subclass 445) visa
• Prospective Marriage (subclass 300) visa
• Partner (subclass 309) visa
The Government is also looking at introducing another concession for parent visa applicants. The change will allow eligible offshore Parent visa applicants to be granted visas without departing Australia.
This will be a temporary concession is intended to commence on 24 March 2021 and would apply to the following visa subclasses:
• Parent (subclass 103) visa
• Contributory Parent (subclass 173) visa
• Contributory Parent (subclass 143) visa
The Department advised that the current processing timeframes for Parent visa applications would not be impacted by these amendments. The waiting times for Parent visas got even longer in the recent months extending to well over 5 years for the Contributory Parent visa applicants.
The government estimates the change will help about 4,000 applicants, mostly partner applicants.
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