Australia is offering new and extended visa options to students and skilled workers from Hong Kong, including pathways to permanent residency, amidst China’s decision to go ahead with the controversial security law in Hong Kong. In addition, Australia is also drafting plans to offer safe haven visas to Hong Kong residents living in Australia.
The Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (Class XE) (Subclass 790) is a protection visa for refugees which requires you to be in Australia; be a refugee or engage in Australia’s protection obligations; and meet all other requirements for the visa. Currently, it is estimated that there are about 20,000 Hong Kong residents living in Australia who do not want to return home.
Section 5H(1)(a) of the Migration Act defines a refugee as, “in a case where the person has a nationality – is outside the country of his or her nationality and, owing to a well-founded fear of persecution, is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country”.
Special Visa Arrangements
The special visa arrangements are aimed at attracting talent to Australia and creating more job opportunities and include:
- Additional five years of work rights to temporary graduate and skilled workers, with a pathway to permanent residency
- Five year graduate visa to students, with a pathway to permanent residency, and
- Five year visa for temporary skilled visas applicants if they meet the updated occupational skills lists and Labour Market Testing requirements, or qualify through the Global Talent temporary visa scheme (Subclass 124 or Subclass 858) where the candidates attract a salary at or above the Fair Work High Income Threshold of AUD $153,600.
Further, for the applicants who study and work in regional areas currently, the existing arrangement will continue which already includes a pathway to permanent residency after 3 years. Furthermore, there will be enhanced efforts to attract export-oriented businesses from Hong Kong to relocate to Australia.
The Hon Alan Tudge MP, Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs in a Joint statement with the Hon Scott Morrison MP, Prime Minister said that the special arrangement will benefit 10,000 existing temporary skilled, temporary graduate and student visa holders in Australia, with a further 2,500 outside Australia and 1,250 current applicants.
If you want to know more about these special visa arrangements, Get In Touch with us or call us on (02) 4626 100 to speak to one of our Registered Migration Agents to discuss your situation.