On 9 July 2020, the Australian government announced that Hong Kong SAR passport holders will be given new pathways to obtain Australian permanent visas.
The concessions began with the extension of existing Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visas, Temporary Work (subclass 457) visas, and Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visas for five years until 8 July 2025, as well as the grant of new subclass 485 visas and subclass 482 visas with a five-year validity period for Hong Kong SAR passport holders.
Extension of concessions to British National Overseas passport holders
At the time they were announced, the concessions were limited to Hong Kong SAR passport holders only. However, the Australian government has recently announced that the concessions and arrangements for Hong Kong SAR passport holders have been retrospectively extended to include applicants from Hong Kong who hold British National Overseas passports. Accordingly:
- subclass 485 visas, subclass 457 visas and subclass 482 visas granted before 9 July 2020 to persons who held Hong Kong SAR passports or British National Overseas passports on the date of the visa grant will remain in effect until 8 July 2025.
- subclass 485 visas (other than second subclass 485 visas granted on or after 9 July 2020 and before 3 November 2021), subclass 457 visas and subclass 482 visas granted on or after 9 July 2020 to persons who held Hong Kong SAR passports or British National Overseas passports on the date of the visa grant will be granted for a period of five years from the date of grant.
New Australian Permanent Visa Pathways
From 5 March 2022, a new Hong Kong stream will be introduced into the permanent Skilled – Independent (subclass 189) visa. Its criteria include that the applicant:
- must hold a Hong Kong SAR or British National Overseas passport;
- must be the primary holder of a subclass 457 visa, subclass 482 visa or subclass 485 visa covered by the above Hong Kong concessions;
- generally must have held their subclass 457 visa, subclass 482 visa or subclass 485 visa for at least four years, and have been usually resident in Australia continuously for at least four years before applying for the subclass 189 visa (unless transitional arrangements for subclass 457 visa holders apply);
- must meet the health criteria, including the waiver conditions if required, as well as other generic criteria including the character test; and
- must have complied substantially with the conditions on their subclass 457 visa, subclass 482 visa or subclass 485 visa held at the time of application for the subclass 189 visa and subsequent bridging visas.
Additionally, from 5 March 2022, a new permanent Skilled Regional (subclass 191) visa will be available and will include a new Hong Kong stream. This Hong Kong stream has similar criteria to the Hong Kong stream of the subclass 189 visa noted above, except that the applicant:
- must have lived, worked or studied in a designated regional area (outside Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane) for three years immediately before applying for the subclass 191 visa; and
- must have held their subclass 457 visa, subclass 482 visa, or subclass 485 visa for at least three years and have been usually resident in Australia continuously for at least three years before applying for the subclass 191 visa (unless transitional arrangements for subclass 457 visa holders apply).
Where to get help for your Australian permanent visa application
Australian immigration law is complex and constantly evolving; it can appear deceptively simple, yet have traps that applicants can accidentally fall into. A great deal of time, expense and angst can be saved in your Australian visa application process by engaging an experienced immigration lawyer, who can be invaluable in ensuring any information prepared from the start of the visa process through to the decision on the application is consistent and sufficiently supported by the right kinds of evidence.
As immigration lawyers well-versed in Australian migration law including not only the legal aspects, but also the practical and process side, Craddock Murray Neumann’s Immigration Law team is available to advise on your eligibility for an Australian permanent visa and then assist with and guide you through every step of the application process. We can give you the comfort that no stone has been left unturned in preparing and presenting your case, and give you the very best chance of success in obtaining an Australian permanent visa.
For a confidential discussion about your visa options or any other immigration matter, please contact our team on 1300 123 529, or via email.
Please note that this page states the law as at December 2021. Australian immigration law is complex and changes frequently, and the law in relation to visa pathways for Hong Kong and British National Overseas passport holders may have been changed since we prepared this page.