Australia Ends COVID-19 Concession Period on November 25, 2023
Australia officially announces the conclusion of the COVID-19 concession period, effective November 25, 2023. The temporary measures, implemented in response to the challenges posed by the global pandemic, provided concessions for applicants of certain visa subclasses affected by international travel restrictions.
Since early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to international travel restrictions and challenging business and employment conditions. In response, the former Australian Government implemented temporary measures to assist applicants facing difficulties meeting visa requirements due to travel restrictions.
Changes in Visa Programs
1. Employer Sponsored Visas
New nominations for Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS), Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS), and Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream visas, effective November 25, 2023, will require Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) holders to have worked in a position with their sponsoring employer for 2 out of the previous 3 years.
2. Skilled Regional Visa Subclass 887
Temporary concessions for Skilled Regional Visa subclass 887 will end, affecting eligibility criteria for applicants. Employment requirement concessions will only apply if applicants held an eligible skilled provisional visa during the concession period and make a valid application within 3 months of Monday, February 26, 2024.
3. Family Visas
For certain Partner and Child visa applicants who applied before November 26, 2023, and were in Australia during the concession period, the location requirement for visa grant will continue. However, concessions will not apply to applicants who were not in Australia during the COVID-19 concession period.
4. Business Innovation and Investment Program Visas
Concessions under the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) will remain valid for eligible applicants for three months after the end of the concession period, allowing applications until February 26, 2024.
5. Other Impacts
The end of the COVID-19 concession period will also affect other visa categories, including the Safe Haven Enterprise Visa and the Temporary Graduate Visa program.
Ending the concession period is seen as a step toward restoring integrity in the migration system. The decision is grounded in the lifting of all COVID-19 international travel restrictions, making certain concessions redundant.
Applicants and stakeholders are advised to review the specific changes and requirements for each visa category to ensure a smooth transition.
- Department of Home Affairs, Australia