New Covid-19 Concessions for Subclass 186,187 Applicants
Since Covid-19 took hold, many employer-sponsored visa holders were instructed to take unpaid leave or had their working hours reduced. Some lost their jobs altogether. There is widespread concern among holders as to whether they will actually be eligible for PR, given the impact of Covid-19 on their employment.
In a recent legislative change, the Department of Home Affairs has introduced concessions which can solve these issues for some individuals. This post explains how they are going to work.
Temporary employer-sponsored visa holders (Subclasses 482-TSS and 457) need to meet a range of requirements in order to qualify for Permanent Residence under the Subclass 186 or 187 visas in the Temporary Transition Stream (TRT).
Notably, they must have been sponsored and employed by the same sponsor for at least 3 years prior to applying for PR. They must have worked full time throughout this period. Any periods of unpaid leave are not counted.
(Note: people who applied for a subclass 457 visa on or before 18 April 2017 only need to work 2 years for their sponsor prior to applying for PR).
Sponsored workers who have been stood down or had their hours reduced could be in trouble. They might lose their eligibility to apply for PR if they do not satisfy the TRT qualifying period. The situation is made worse when the temporary visa is about to expire.
The Australian Government has decided to ensure that these persons are not disadvantaged by the fact that they were temporarily stood down or had their hours reduced. This is done by recognising periods of reduced hours or unpaid leave as time that full-time employment.
In other words, the Department will 'disregard' these periods for the purposes of PR qualifying periods under subclass 186 and 187 visas. They will treat them as standard full time work.
The fine print
In order to be treated as full time work, periods of reduced hours and unpaid leave periods must have occurred during the 'Concession Period.' This period commenced on 1 February 2020 and will end when the Department decides the concessions are no longer required.
Having periods of reduced hours or unpaid leave during the Concession Period is not enough. These periods must have been the result of Covid-19 restrictions. Evidence to support this should be provided.
Temporary sponsored workers who been made redundant or are unemployed cannot benefit from these concessions. They should find a new sponsor within 60 days, apply for another visa or make plans to leave Australia.
Other matters to consider
Given the impact of Covid-19 on the labour market, the Department is assessing employer sponsored nominations carefully.
Employers who are applying to sponsor staff for Subclass 186/187 visas should provide extensive evidence that the position is genuine. This includes advertising the position prior to lodging the nomination application.
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About the Writer
Elan Rysher is a Registered Migration Agent and Qualified Student Counsellor. He is the founder of Rysher Migration and the main Writer for ImmiUpdates. Elan has many years of experience working in migration, finance and health. Being a former migrant himself, Elan is passionate about helping others fulfill their Australian dream.
Have any questions? Write them below in the comments or email Elan at firstname.lastname@example.org
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