Australia will offer a path to permanent residency for thousands of Hong Kong citizens.
The prime minister announced that Australia would change its immigration policy, allowing students, skilled and graduate visa holders would have their visas extended by five years “with a pathway to permanent residency at the end of those five years.
“That means if you’re a current or future student, you’ll be able to stay for a total of five years once you’ve graduated with a pathway to permanent residency at the end of that period…….If you’re a temporary visa holder, your visa will be extended to an additional five years from today, in addition to the time you’ve already been in Australia with a pathway to permanent residency at the end of that period.”
So how will it actually work?
The arrangements are slightly different, depending on which visa you currently hold. Although no change in legislation has been officially provided, The Immigration Minister announced that:
- Temporary graduate (Subclass 485) and skilled workers (Subclass 482) will be offered an additional five years of work rights in Australia on top of the time they’ve already been in Australia, with a pathway to permanent residency at the end of that period.
- Students (Subclass 500) will be eligible for a five year graduate visa from the conclusion of their studies, with a pathway to permanent residency at the end of that period.
- Future Hong Kong applicants for temporary skilled visas will be provided with a five year visa, based on meeting the updated skills lists and Labour Market Testing requirements.
- Existing arrangement will continue to apply for those applicants who study and work in regional areas to help address skills shortages in those areas, with pathways to permanent residency after 3 years.
When will this come into effect?
The prime minister announced that these changes come into effect from the dat it was announced – July 9th, although no official legislation or policy has been put forward by the government. It is expected that the new legislation will be provided sometime within the next few months.
Who will be eligible?
There are currently approximately 10000 Hong Kong citizens in Australia. Of these, more than 8200 students, 900 temporary graduate visa and 570 temporary skilled visa holders now in Australia – and 2000 who have had their visas approved but are still overseas – are eligible for the five-year extension
Who has not been announced as eligible?
Immigration did not say that Hong Kong citizens on working holiday makers or tourists will be eligible. However, Hong Kong Citizens may be able to apply for asylum through the humanitarian stream if they fear persecution.
Can I apply for a visa now, and become eligible?
The prime minister said, “Current and future students from Hong Kong will be eligible for a five-year temporary graduate visa on the successful conclusion of their studies, and that will come with a pathway for permanent residency.”
As no clear legislation has been provided, it is unclear if future students (yet to be enrolled) will also be eligible for this pathway. Although the comments from the prime minister do seem positive.
If you would like to chat with a registered migration agent about study or visa options, feel free to contact Pathway to Aus:
P: +61 7 55 265 900