Graduate and work visa changes for HK citizens
- James Hall
Australian government introduces legislation to extend visa duration for Hong Kong passport holders
The Australian government previously made commitments to support Hong Kong passport holders in Australia. On 20th August 2020 legislation was introduced to extend the visa duration for graduate (subclass 485) work visas, and temporary employer sponsored (subclass 482) work visas. The legislation is available here.
These changes are to support and encourage skilled workers from Hong Kong and Hong Kong graduates to remain in Australia or relocate to Australia (subject to the lifting of COVID-19 travel restrictions).
The subclass 485 graduate visa allows a student who has been studying in Australia to apply for an open work visa following completion of study of at least 2 years in Australia. There are two streams - the graduate stream includes qualifications from certificate and diploma level through to degrees, and requires the qualification to be closely related to a high demand occupation in Australia as reflected on the Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List (MTSSL). The post study stream requires degree level study but does not need to be related to any occupation and is the more common stream used by university students in Australia.
The graduate stream visa is normally valid for up to 18 months, and the post study visa is valid for 2 to 4 years (the higher stay is for higher qualifications such as PhD). Under the new changes introduced the validity period for Hong Kong passport holders is 5 years for all new visa applications under these streams. Existing 482 and 485 visas are extended to 8th July 2025. Family members of the visa holder will have the extension to 8th July 2025 as well regardless of their passport.
The subclass 482 temporary skill shortage visa is an employer sponsored work visa for Australia. There are two streams - short term stream for lower demand occupations which normally has a 2 year duration and no structured pathway to permanent residence, and the medium term stream which is for higher demand occupations and normally has a 4 year duration with a structured pathway to permanent residence. Under the new changes introduced the validity period for Hong Kong passport holders is 5 years for all new visa applications under these streams.
The government has committed to introduce a permanent residence pathway at the end of the 5 year period. The details for this have not yet been developed or announced.
ANZ Migration is a specialised firm in migration to Australia and New Zealand. We are now able to enrol students in all universities and most education institutions across Australia and NZ. We can recommend education through to residence pathways.