On 9 July 2020, the Prime Minister announced arrangements in response to the current situation in Hong Kong whereby Australia will offer a pathway for Hong Kong citizens to remain in Australia. These arrangements are meant to provide a pathway to permanent residence for the almost 10,000 Hong Kong citizens in Australia. They are also intended to entice businesses from Hong Kong to Australia, thereby creating job opportunities for Australians.
Whilst we have not yet seen any of the proposed regulations or policy, the statement from the Prime Minister and the Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge confirms the below for visa-holders from Hong Kong:
- Current and future students will be eligible for a five-year temporary graduate visa on completion of their studies, with a pathway to permanent residency after five years.
- Students in Australia on a temporary graduate visa will be eligible for an extension of five years in addition to the time they’ve already been in Australia, with a pathway to permanent residency at the end of that period.
- Students who study at a regional campus will continue to be able to access a pathway to permanent residency after three years.
Temporary skilled visas
- Current temporary skilled visa holders will be eligible for an extension of five years from today in addition to the time they’ve already been in Australia, with a pathway to permanent residency at the end of that period.
- Future applicants for temporary skilled visas will be eligible for a five-year visa, provided they:
- meet occupational skills lists and Labour Market Testing requirements; or
- qualify through the Global Talent temporary visa scheme.
- These future temporary skilled visa holders will also have a pathway to permanent residency after five years.
The government also proposes to focus on attracting Hong Kong citizens to the Global Talent and Business Innovation and Investment Programs. This will see the introduction of a dedicated Global Talent officer focused on the Hong Kong caseload, prioritisation of applications from Hong Kong citizens and the re-opening of the visa application centre of the Department of Home Affairs in Hong Kong. Some of the incentives to be introduced will include economic incentives as well as permanent visa pathways for all critical Hong Kong based staff of businesses seeking to relocate in Australia.
The practical effect of these proposed changes remains to be seen. If you are affected by these proposed changes, please contact us to arrange an initial consultation.