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Refund, waivers, and visa extensions in COVID-19 times

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Many visa holders who have been affected by travel restrictions because of COVID-19 will be able to access a refund of their Visa Application Charge (VAC).

Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge said, “Tourists, working holidaymakers, seasonal and pacific workers, prospective partners and temporary skilled workers whose travel has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic will be eligible”

Prospective Marriage (subclass 300) visa holders who were or will be unable to enter Australia before their visa ceases due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions will get a refund of their VAC or an extension of visa validity period for affected visa holders. This is good news for people who have spent nearly $8,000.00 applying for this visa.

Temporary Skill Shortage or Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclasses 482 and 457) will receive a waiver for their VAC in relation to subsequent applications for people who held a subclass 482 or subclass 457 visa and were either unable to travel to Australia or had travelled and departed but were unable to return before their visa ceased due to the COVID-19 travel bans. This will also apply to those who held a Temporary Skill Shortage or subclass 457 visa while travel restrictions were in place and require a new visa in order to re-enter Australia.

Working Holiday Maker (subclasses 462 and 417) will receive a waiver of VAC who were unable to travel to Australia due to travel restrictions or departed due to COVID-19. A refund of VAC for Working Holiday Makers visa holders who were unable to travel to Australia due to travel restrictions or departed early due to COVID-19 and are unable to apply for a new Holiday Waiver as they have now passed the relevant age limit.

Visitor (subclass 600) holders will receive a waiver of VAC for visitor visa applicants whose previous visas ceased, or will cease, while outside Australia due to travel restrictions, between March 2020 and December 2021. This will also apply to those who held a Tourist, Approved Destination Status, Business Visitor or Sponsored Family visa which ceased while travel restrictions were in place.

Also included are those people who were unable to travel to Australia for initial entry, as well as those who had travelled and departed but were unable to return on a multiple entry visa as long as they apply for the new visa before the end of 2022.

If you have any questions or would like consultation regarding your rights, contact our expert team of registered migration agents at FC Lawyers.

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