New visa arrangements for Hong Kong students, temporary graduates and skilled workers come into effect today.
The new arrangements mean up to 10,000 Hong Kong passport holders in Australia will be able to extend their stay for five years and apply to remain here permanently.
Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge said Australia and Hong Kong have always shared a close relationship.
“Australia has a long history of attracting Hong Kong's best and brightest who have contributed significantly to our economic growth and job creation, and we are committed to ensuring this is further strengthened," Mr Tudge said.
“We know that recent events in Hong Kong mean that many highly talented individuals will want to remain in or relocate to a free, democratic country like Australia, and these new arrangements will ensure we're attracting those who create jobs and opportunities for Australians."
Under the new arrangements:
- Hong Kong passport holders who held a Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) or Temporary Skilled Shortage (subclass 482 or 457) visa on 9 July 2020 will automatically have that visa extended for five years.
- Current and future students from Hong Kong will be eligible for a five year Temporary Graduate visa on the successful completion of their tertiary studies. Applicants will still need to meet the usual requirements of this visa, including meeting the Australian Study Requirement.
- Hong Kong passport holders who apply for a temporary skilled visa will be eligible for a five year visa if they have qualifications listed on the occupational skills lists and meet Labour Market Testing requirements.
There are almost 10,000 temporary skilled, temporary graduate and student visa holders in Australia, with a further 2,500 outside Australia and 1,250 applications on hand.
Those who receive the five year extension or who are granted a five year visa in the future will also be eligible for permanent residency at the completion of their five years, provided they pass all relevant character, security and health checks. For those who study at a regional campus and choose to live and work in regional Australia, the pathway to permanent residency will be available after three years.
The Government is also developing further incentives to attract global talent and export-oriented businesses from Hong Kong to Australia, particularly where they have a strong potential for future growth and employment of Australians. Further details will be announced soon.