In this special guest blog our visa partner Visa Go Australia explain how COVID-19 is impacting the process and application of Australian visas.
Emigration to Australia during COVID
At Visa Go Australia we have been inundated with enquiries around how COVID is affecting Australian visa applications, from eligibility concerns to processing times. Below, we give you an overview of some of the most frequently asked questions about COVID and Australian migration.
Can I enter Australia?
The Australian border is currently closed to most people, including temporary visa holders such as tourists and working holiday makers.
The Department of Home Affairs is allowing enty to the following people:
• Australian citizens
• Australian permanent residents
• New Zealand citizens usually resident in Australia
• Immediate family of an Australian citizen or permanent resident (dependent child, legal guardian or spouse/de- facto)
• Additional exemptions as determined by the Commissioner
Can I still apply for an Australian visa?
Australian visas continue to be processed, so it is still possible to apply. It is worth considering the time it will take to prepare your visa application, and the time you are given to activate your visa. Most visas allow 12 months from the date of grant to enter Australia.
It can take months to gather documents for family visas, or months to secure an invitation to apply for a skilled visa. We recommend you allow yourself ample time to complete the visa process, especially as the requirements and processing times are constantly changing.
Following the easing of lockdown, panel physicians in Australia and the UK have begun taking health examinations bookings once more.
The Department of Home Affairs has also provided advice on activating your skilled visa before the initial entry date amid COVID.
When will my visa be granted?
While it is impossible to provide an exact date, we can offer an estimated timeframe and guidance on how to avoid processing delays by lodging a ‘decision-ready’ application.
You can view global visa processing times on The Department of Home Affairs website. Updated monthly, this provides a good indication of how long your visa will take to process after lodgement. We would anticipate an increase in processing times following the COVID lockdown.
Skilled visa processing times are currently:
• Skilled Independent (subclass 189) 13-14 months
• Skilled Nomination (subclass 190) 5-7 months
• Skilled Work Regional (provisional) (subclass 491) State 58-76 days
• Skilled Work Regional (provisional) (subclass 491) Family 57-71 days
As the Department implements safe working practice and social distancing measures, we would expect this to temporarily decrease productivity and therefore extend visa processing times.
You can minimise delays by ensuring your visa application is lodged correctly and completely. Working with an experienced migration agent can be of great benefit in this respect, as they will identify industry trends based on their client portfolio and provide you with recommendations.
As the world continues to adjust to the implications of COVID, it is worth noting that this reduction in migration is only temporary, and that visa options are still available. Updates to Australia’s immigration and border arrangements during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak can be found on The Department of Home Affairs website.
If you would like to enquire about your visa options, contacting a Licensed Migration Agent is a good place to start.