Note: the following provides general information only and should not be considered as professional advice.  For specific advice on employment law issues, please contact your legal or HR advisor. For specific migration advice, please contact Aspire Australia on 02 9956 6011 or [email protected].

The impact of the COVID19 Coronavirus is being felt by businesses and individuals around the world. 

If you are in Australia and find yourself in a situation where your visa is about to expire and are uncertain on how to remain in Australia, please read on.

In this Q&A style bulletin, we provide clear information regarding most common situations around different visas, your responsibilities and how to move forward. 

My Australian visa is expiring soon, what can I do?

Prior to the expiry of your visa, the intention is that you depart Australia.  You may be a national of a country which has closed its borders to all incomers (although most countries will allow their nationals to return), however, or you may be in a high risk category for contracting the Coronavirus and afraid to travel.

If you are unable or unwilling to depart Australia, then you must apply for a further visa to remain in Australia.

Whatever the reason, it is important that you apply for a further visa for Australia so that you do not become unlawful and subject to deportation from the country. And your visa application should be made prior to the expiry of your current visa (some exemptions apply). 

Depending on the visa that you currently hold, and your circumstances, there are a variety of visas that you may be eligible to apply for. 

How can I extend my Tourist visa in Australia?

To obtain a further Tourist visa for Australia you must show:

  • reasons for your further temporary stay in Australia
  • a genuine intention to return to your country 
  • ability to financially support yourself during your extended stay

A Tourist visa may be available for a period of up to 12 months (each case considered on its own merits and circumstances).

You should also, where possible, apply for the further visa prior to the expiry of your current visa, to maintain lawful status in Australia.

I have a No Further Stay condition on my visa, how can I apply for a new visa?

Some Australian visas, for example some Tourist visas, have a No Further Stay condition attached to them. This condition prevents the visa holder from being granted a new visa whilst in Australia.

Visa holders with this condition may, however, apply to waive that condition if there are compelling and/or compassionate circumstances.

Each request will be considered on its own circumstances.  Inability or unwillingness to travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be one reason.

If the condition on your visa is waived, then you will be able to apply for any further visa for which you meet the relevant criteria.

Given the number of waiver requests being made to the Department of Home Affairs, it is important that you make your request early as you may not receive a response for at least 14 days. If your visa is about to expire, you need to be aware that you may become unlawfully present in Australia if you have not applied for a visa prior to the expiry of your current visa.

I hold a 457/482 visa and have been stood down, what do I need to do?

Holders of subclass 457 or 482 visas are required to work for their sponsor, usually on a full time basis. Work changes brought about by the Coronavirus, may have impacted your work, such as reduction to part time, being stood down, being required to take paid or unpaid leave.

If you have been stood down, you are still considered to be employed by your employer. This is unlikely to be the cause of a visa cancellation if the intention is that you return to work. Read our Bulletin for 457/482 holders here for more details about the impact on your 457/482 visa.

What will the impact of Coronavirus have on my eligibility for permanent residence through the ENS Transitional stream?

If you have been stood down or required to take unpaid leave, your eligibility to transition from a 457 or 482 visa to an Employer Nomination subclass 186 visa may be delayed. 

To be eligible for the 186 Transitional visa, you must have completed the relevant amount of paid employment for your sponsor: 104 weeks for 457 visa holders that meet the grandfathering provisions or 156 weeks for other 457/482 visa holders.

If you are unable to complete the relevant period of employment prior to your visa expiry, you may need to therefore apply for a further temporary visa.

Further, in nominating you through the ENS Transitional stream, the employer must be in a position to offer you further employment for a period of at least two years. Businesses that flounder due to the Coronavirus crisis may not be in a position to offer that guarantee of employment. Each case will be considered on its own circumstances.

My Australian student visa is expiring soon, what do I need to do?

The usual options are available to you: depart Australia prior to visa expiry (in alignment with your genuine temporary entrant intentions stated in your Student visa), or apply for a further visa in Australia.

If you have already completed your course, you may consider enrolling for a further course, if you have the funds, or you may be eligible for a post graduate visa (depending on the level and content of your completed studies).

Where you intend to depart Australia but are unable to travel due to restrictions in your home country or inability to get a flight, you may consider other short-term options such as the Tourist visa (refer above).

How Aspire Australia can help

Aspire Australia are specialists in developing strategic visa solutions to address both your immediate needs and your long term plans.

Let us take the pain out of the paperwork and guide you through the process, from start to finish. We know it can be a challenging process. When your hope falters, you can rely on us to be here for you.

Over 25+ years in the industry we have built a 7-Step Pathway to lead our clients to success.

We will create and deliver your personalised MAP: Migration Action Plan to achieve the outcome that you need.

Book an appointment to discuss your specific circumstances!