• Elan Rysher

Breaking News: Visa Extensions for Subclass 485, 489, 491 and 494 Visas

Updated: Feb 22

The Department of Home Affairs is extending the visa period of some Skilled visas due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on holders.

On 25 November 2021, the Australian Government announced that it intends to introduce Skilled visa extensions and replacements for holders who have lost time in Australia due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions. The intention is to help visa holders remain or return to Australia and maintain eligibility for permanent residence, despite the effects of the pandemic.


The first of several legislative changes aimed to facilitate these changes is now published. It applies to visa holders in the following subclasses:

Subclass 485 visas

From mid-2021, replacement subclass 485 visas will be available to people who were outside of Australia at any time between 1 February 2020 and 15 December 2021 while holding a valid subclass 485 visa. To assist affected holders in the meantime, the Government is extending the current or expired visa period to 30 September 2022.


This extension applies to all subclass 485 visa holders, where the primary visa holder was:

  • Outside of Australia at any time between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021; and

  • Holds or held a subclass 485 visa which was in effect during that time; and

  • The visa has expired, or due to expire before 1 October 2022, but was not cancelled; and

  • The holder has not been granted another substantive visa.

The same extension applies to secondary visa holders if the primary visa holder is eligible.


Subclass 489 visas

The Department is extending the visa period of subclass 489 visa holders by three years to assist them in meeting the requirements for permanent residence. The extension will apply to current and expired visas, adding three years on top of the original expiry date. The following criteria applies to those who are eligible:

  • The primary visa holder was outside of Australia at any time between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021; and

  • Holds or held a subclass 489 visa which was in effect during that time; and

  • The visa was not cancelled.

The same extension applies to secondary visa holders if the primary visa holder is eligible.


Subclass 491 and 494 visas

Visa periods will be extended by three years from the original expiry date, to provide additional time for current visa holders to start or resume living, working and studying in regional Australia. Eligible holders must meet the following criteria:

  • The primary visa holder was outside of Australia at any time between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021; and

  • Holds a subclass 491 or 494 visa which was in effect during that time; and

  • The visa is in effect as of 18 February 2022; and

  • The visa has not been cancelled.

Family members who are secondary holders are also eligible for the extension.


These visa extensions are another sign of the Government's commitment to maintain Australia's reputation as an attractive migrant destination. Undoubtedly they will provide great relief to many current and former visa holders who are affected by the pandemic and travel restrictions.


For more information please Contact Us or email elan@ryshermigration.com.au

Elan Rysher is a Registered Migration Agent and Qualified Student Counsellor. He is the main Writer for ImmiUpdates and the founder of Rysher Migration. Elan has many years of experience working in immigration, finance and health. Being a former migrant himself, Elan is passionate about helping others fulfil their Australian dream.

 

Information (or the lack of it) contained in ImmiUpdates should not be relied on as immigration assistance or advice. ImmiUpdates expressly disclaim any liability, arising at law, in equity or otherwise, for any information published or not published in past, the present or future editions of the blog. People seeking immigration assistance should seek advice from a registered migration agent and those seeking legal advice should consult a lawyer. The copyright in the newsletter belongs to Rysher Migration Services and no part of the blog is to be reproduced by any means without the written consent of Rysher Migration Services.


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