In a joint statement with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Immigration Minister Alan Tudge on 9 July 2020, the Government has committed to providing visa pathways to Hong Kong nationals to extend their stay if already located in Australia, or to relocate their families and businesses to Australia.
In summary, the key announcements included:
- Temporary graduates and skilled workers 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 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 skilled occupation lists and usual Labour Market Testing requirements.
- Existing arrangements 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.
Following this announcement, the Government will need to implement legislation to give effect to these proposed changes, and provide policy guidance on how applicants can take advantage of the visa extension and permanent residence options. We are closely following Government announcements, future legislation and policy making, and feedback from industry bodies to keep informed of the changing climate.
Special visa arrangements will be made for current and future students from Hong Kong, who will be eligible for a five-year temporary graduate visa on the successful conclusion of their studies, with a pathway to permanent residency after five years.
Temporary graduate visa holders will be eligible for an extension of five years from today in addition to the time they’ve already been in Australia, with a pathway to permanent residency at the end of that period.
Students who study at a regional campus will continue to be able to access a pathway to permanent residency after three years, as per usual requirements.
Temporary skilled visa holders
Temporary skilled visa holders (subclass 482 / 457) from Hong Kong will be eligible for a five years from today in addition to the time they’ve already been in Australia, with a pathway to permanent residency at the end of that period.
For future temporary skilled visa applications, Hong Kong applicants may be eligible for a five year visa term, provided their occupation is on the relevant skilled occupation list and the employer satisfies Labour Market Testing requirements. Alternatively, for applicants who don’t fall under the usual skilled occupation lists and 482 criteria, they can apply for a skilled work visa through the Global Talent temporary visa scheme, which is for exceptional talent where the sponsoring employer is a recognised startup or accredited employer and pays above the relevant salary threshold.
According to the Government’s announcement, future temporary skilled visa holders will also have a pathway to permanent residency after five years.
Global Talent Program
The Government has also indicated that it will allocate additional resources to recruit applicants for the Global Talent Independent Program, part of the permanent migration program. The program will be prioritised and a dedicated Global Talent officer will focus on facilitating the Hong Kong caseload.
The Global Talent Program is a direct pathway to permanent residence, whereby an applicant can be recruited by a Global Talent officer and invited to apply for a Distinguished Talent Visa. To qualify, an applicant have skills in one of the seven target areas –
- Space and Advanced Manufacturing
- Energy and Mining Technology
- Cyber Security
- Quantum Information, Advanced Digital, Data Science and ICT
Applicants need to have the potential to earn more than AU$153,600.
Business Innovation & Investor Visas
The Government will also bolster efforts to attract Hong Kong’s business owners and investors through the Business Innovation & Investor Visa Program.
New incentives will be developed to attract export-oriented Hong Kong based businesses to relocate to Australia. As well as economic incentives, there will be permanent visa pathways available for all critical Hong Kong based staff of the relocated business. The government will particularly target businesses that presently operate their regional headquarters out of Hong Kong who may be looking to relocate to a democratic country.
To support future applications, visa processing centres in Hong Kong which were shut down during COVID-19 will re-open.
We are working closely with clients and partners in Hong Kong and Australia to develop strategies for migration to Australia through the education, skilled migration and investment migration programs. If you require advice about these special arrangements and your visa options, please contact our team firstname.lastname@example.org or book a consultation for immediate advice www.themigrationagency.com.au/book.