Permanent residency available for short term visa holders
A new legislative instrument was introduced over the weekend. It provides new avenues- to apply for permanent residency for some short-term visa holders.
The changes aim to recognize the contribution some people gave to Australia, while enduring staying in the Country during the Pandemic.
Be mindful though: it is not a “free pass” for everybody. There are specific criteria to be met to be eligible.
Keep reading for a detailed analysis on the new instrument.
Who are these changes aimed at?
There are two groups of applicants targeted by the changes:
- Specified 457 visa holders: those who, on 18.04.2017, had already obtained or had requested to obtain a 457 visa (subsequently approved)
- The remaining holders of 482TSS STSOL who – starting from 01.07.2022 – will be able to prove that they have been in Australia with a valid visa for at least 12 months, between 01.02.20 and 14.12.2021
What visa can be used to obtain permanent residency as a short term visa holder?
Permanent residency will need to be applied for through a sponsored TRT (temporary residency transition). As such, having an Australian business wiling to sponsor the applicant is a must.
Secondly, only people holding a 457/482 visa will be able to apply.
Some people may have changed their visa from a sponsor to a 408COVID Pandemic, as suggested by the DHA. It seems like these people will need to re-apply for a sc482 first, before being able to lodge their permanent residency request.
How long must you have worked for the sponsor?
Different timeframes apply:
- Specified 457 visa holders: these people are required to have worked for their sponsor for at least 2 out of the last 3 years, before lodging their permanent residency request
- 482 visa holders in the short term – who cannot be considered specified 457 visa holders – will be able to apply for their permanent residency after working 3 out of the last 4 years, for their sponsor
In both circumstances – where the person’s work has been negatively impacted by COVID (reduction to part time / casual or even unpaid leave and stand down), the affected periods are counted as work periods, so as not to create a disadvantage.
If, however, a person has voluntarily requested any “unpaid leave” (for example for reasons of health or vacation), these periods will be excluded from the calculation.
- Have the age criteria changed? NO, PR is still available only to those people who have not turned 45
- Have the criteria of English competency changed? NO, PR is only available to those people who can demonstrate IELTS 6 / PTE 50 in each component of the tests
- Between 01.02.2020 and 14.12.2021 I was in Australia with a WHV / 408COVID / Student visa or a combination of these. I have always worked for the same employer and the job is on the short term list. Can I apply for the permanent? NO, the PR remains based on the person having previously held a 457/482 visa for the required number of years. Your employer can sponsor you and upon reaching the number of years, you can apply for PR
- I had an expiring 482TSS STSOL visa and I renewed it with a 408COVID19 visa. Can I apply for PR? NO, you must get sponsored by the employer again as the 186TRT visa is however only available for people who have a 457/482 at the time of the application
- My sponsor visa has been issued for a long-term listed job. Is there any advantage for me?
- NO, these changes are only relevant to Specified 457 visa holders or 482TSS STSOL holders.
- I have a 482TSS STSOL visa, can I apply for the PR after only 2 years of work for my sponsor? NO, or rather, you can only if you are a Specified 457 visa holders. The reduction to “2 in the last 3 years” is only relevant for Specified 457 visa holders.
- I finally managed to enter Australia after a long wait. I also found a job and my employer is interested in sponsoring me, but my occupation is on the short-term list. Will I be able to take advantage of these changes and reach permanent residency? NO, currently these benefits are only aimed at Specified 457 visa holders or holders of 482TSS STSOL who can demonstrate that they have been in Australia for at least 12 months, between 01.02.2020 and 14.12.2021
- I had already requested two short term 482TSS. Upon expiration, I requested a 408COVID as suggested by the DHA. Now I can no longer apply for a 482TSS from onshore. How do I resolve this situation? At the moment the possibility of renewing the third 482TSS STSOL from onshore has not been legislated, so it is very likely that you will first have to submit a request from offshore to reacquire eligibility.
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