In a significant development for Australia’s immigration landscape, the Albanese Labor Government, in collaboration with the Hon Andrew Giles MP, has made the decision to close the Pandemic Event visa. This announcement comes as part of the government’s commitment to shaping a more efficient and responsive migration system in the post-pandemic era. In this article, we’ll delve into the details of this migration update and its implications for prospective visa applicants and current visa holders.
Closing the Pandemic Event Visa
From February 2024, the Pandemic Event visa will cease to be available to new applicants. This decision has been made to instill certainty into the visa system, considering that the circumstances necessitating this particular visa category are no longer prevalent. By closing the door to new applicants, the government aims to streamline the visa process and ensure it aligns with current needs.
Transition Period for Existing Visa Holders
Starting on 2 September 2023, the Pandemic Event visa will exclusively accept applications from those who currently hold this visa category. This transitional phase is designed to maintain the integrity of the visa system during the shift. During this period, all other visa holders will become ineligible for the Pandemic Event visa. This measure is taken to safeguard the authenticity and fairness of the visa system.
Continued Lawfulness for Current Visa Holders
It’s crucial to emphasize that individuals with valid Pandemic Event visas will remain lawful residents in Australia until their visa expires. This provision ensures that existing visa holders can continue their stay without disruption. The staged closure of the visa is yet another step taken by the government to fine-tune the visa system to better serve the Australian population’s evolving needs.
Addressing Migration System Challenges
The Albanese Government inherited a migration system plagued by backlogs, delays, and extensive waitlists. In response, the government has taken swift and comprehensive actions to address these challenges. The closure of the Pandemic Event visa is part of a broader effort to overhaul and enhance Australia’s migration system, making it more efficient and equitable for all stakeholders.
Terminating Pandemic Measures
In addition to closing the Pandemic Event visa, the Albanese Government has recently put an end to various pandemic-related measures. These include terminating unlimited work hours for international students and work exemptions for Working Holiday visa holders. Collectively, these actions are expected to reduce Net Overseas Migration, supporting a return to pre-pandemic levels of population growth.
Changes to New Applications
Effective from 2 September 2023, new applicants for the Pandemic Event visa will encounter modifications in the application process. Applicants will now receive a six-month visa, and a Visa Application Charge of $405 AUD will be introduced. These adjustments aim to ensure that the visa is reserved for individuals with a genuine need to remain in Australia and contribute to the nation.
Exploring Alternative Visa Options
For current Pandemic Event visa holders who wish to apply for a different visa category, meeting the specific criteria for that visa is essential. The government encourages visa holders to explore alternative options and plan their future in Australia accordingly. Those without alternative visa application avenues are expected to depart Australia upon the expiration of their Pandemic Event visa.
For the latest official updates, please visit the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs website here to stay informed.
Are you affected by the closure of the Covid-19 Pandemic Event Visas?
Navigating Australia’s immigration landscape can be a complex endeavor. Whether you’re affected by the closure of the Pandemic Event visa or exploring other migration options, NB Migration Law is here to assist you. Our team of expert migration lawyers is dedicated to guiding you through the process, ensuring a smooth and successful migration experience. Contact us today if you need our assistance; we’re here to help and offer a complimentary consultation.