Red Cross announcement – Assistance to Temporary Visa Holders

The Red Cross has announced on its website that it will be receiving funding from the Australian Government for the next six months to deliver emergency relief and casework support to temporary visa holders who have no way to support themselves and who have urgent needs.

The funds have not yet been received and the Red Cross will work as quickly as possible with the Department of Social Services to finalise the details of the funding and expand assistance to people who are experiencing significant vulnerability. Assistance will include food, medicine and crisis accommodation costs.

Who is eligible? Visa holders may be eligible for Red Cross Safety Net support if they:

  • are in Australia on a temporary visa
  • are in urgent financial hardship
  • cannot access Centrelink, Medicare or similar services
  • have no income, savings or other financial support (including from family overseas).

Eligible visa holders are requested to contact the Red Cross by email in the first instance so that can be advised when the funds and arrangements are in place.

Further visa information is available on the Red Cross website

Closure – VFS Global Network offices and services

Effective 7 April 2020, all Australian Visa Application Centres, Australian Biometric Collection Centres and call centres, across the VFS Global network, will be temporarily closed until further notice.

Appointments and mail-in/courier application services to the Australian Visa Application Centres will also remain closed.

Business Innovation and Investment Programs – closures

A number of state and territories have also exhausted their allocation of places for their Business Innovation and Investment Programs.

New South Wales

NSW is unable to accept applications for the BIIP until the new program year commences on 1st July 2020. This includes the Subclass 188 (A,B,C,E) and Subclass 132 (Significant Business History) streams.

Applications for the Subclasses 188A and 188C Extensions, and Subclasses 888A, B and C streams may still be lodged.

Queensland

The BSMQ Business Program remains closed. Applications for the following subclasses were suspended on 2 January 2020: Subclasses 188 (A,B,C,E) and Subclasses 132 – Significant Business History and Venture Capital Entrepreneur streams

Queensland will still be processing applications completed prior to this date.

Victoria

From 9 April 2020, Victoria’s Subclasses 132 and 188 visa nomination program will be paused for the remainder of 2019-20 and no new nomination applications accepted.

Processing will continue for applications received prior to this date, in accordance with published processing times.

Applications for the Subclasses 188A and 188C Extensions, and Subclasses 888 A, B and C streams will still be accepted.

Australian Capital Territory

The ACT has met the 2019/20 allocation of BIIP nomination places. Any applications submitted after the closure will not be processed until 1 July 2020.

South Australia

South Australian state nominated Business visa Subclasses 188 and 132 have reached capacity for the 2019-20 program year.

‘Intention to Apply’ submissions from interested parties who plan to apply once the new program year opens are now being accepted.

Tasmanian, Western Australia and Northern Territory

Business migration programs remain open for applications in these states and territory.

State and Territory Nominated Visas – s48 barred applicants onshore

As reported in MIA Notice 30, the Commonwealth has asked the State and Territory governments to suspend nominating s48 barred applicants until the COVID-19 travel restrictions have been resolved. The following information has been provided by the state and territories have posted this information to their websites:

New South Wales

NSW will re-nominate applicants affected by section 48 bars once they are again able to travel overseas. This will provide a further 60 days to submit the visa application to the Department of Home Affairs.

Until the COVID pandemic travel restrictions have been resolved, please do not nominate new applicants who are s48 barred.

Queensland

As applicants subject to a section 48 bar are unable to lodge a state nominated visa onshore, BSMQ is unable to nominate section 48 barred applicants for Subclass 491 visas and requests that these applications be withdrawn.

Nomination applications may be lodged again once the travel restrictions are lifted, if the applicant meets the criteria at that time.

Tasmania

As of 2 April 2020, all applications on hand and lodged thereafter by candidates who hold a Bridging Visa associated with Administrative Appeal Tribunal (AAT) or Federal Court review will continue to be assessed as normal.

Unsuccessful applicants will be advised of the outcome and should not reapply until travel restrictions are lifted. All other applications will be placed on hold in our system and when travel restrictions are lifted we will contact applicants to obtain an update of circumstances (such as current residential location and employment details if applicable) to then finalise their application accordingly.

Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Western Australia, Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory

No information currently from these states and territories.

Condition 8504 – Must enter Australia before specified date

The Department has provided information for the holders of skilled and business visas who were offshore at the time of grant and are subject to Condition 8504 ‘must enter before a specified date’.

Skilled visas

Skilled Migration is aware that in certain circumstances the visa holder and/or family members may not be able to comply with this condition. Failure to comply with visa conditions can render a visa liable for cancellation under the Migration Act 1958 and visa holders are strongly encouraged to make their first entry to Australia by the initial entry date provided in your grant notification.

However, generally the Department will not seek to cancel a Skilled visa where the only reason for doing so would be breach of this condition related to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

This information applies to the following visa subclasses:

  • Skilled Independent (subclass 189)
  • Skilled Nominated (subclass 190)
  • Skilled Regional (subclass 489)
  • Skilled Work Regional (subclass 491)

Business Visas

Holders of Business Skills or Distinguished Talent visas in this situation are requested to send an email to: business.skills.adelaide@homeaffairs.gov.au for further information.

The full advice sheet and further information on travelling from Skilled Program Delivery, South Australia is available here.

Source – Migration Institute of Australia