Coronavirus Update – Visa holders & Applicants

Coronavirus Update

UPDATED: 28th February (Department of Home Affairs)

The Department of Home Affairs has released some important informaiton for visa holders and visa applicants. Find out more about the below:

Extended work rights for Students

Australia’s major supermarkets will temporarily be able to offer more hours to international student employees to help keep shelves stocked.

International students currently employed at the major supermarkets will be able to extend their working hours to help meet the high demand for essential items because of the coronavirus. Ordinarily, international students are subject to a maximum of 40 hours a fortnight during the term.

Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge said the changes would help supermarkets meet the immediate high demand.

“Supermarkets across the country are struggling to keep shelves stocked with essential items, such as toilet paper, tissues, rice and pasta,” Mr Tudge said.

“To keep up with this demand, supermarkets have told us they need to give extra hours to current staff to stock shelves and serve Australian customers. While many of these will be Australian workers, international students will also be able to increase their hours,” Mr Tudge said.

The measures will be administered by the Department of Home Affairs and are available to major supermarkets including Woolworths and Coles, and only for existing employees in their existing roles. Other supermarkets can register with the Department if they believe the changes will assist them.

“The changes are short term and will be reviewed regularly to ensure they are working and that they are still required,” Mr Tudge said.

“We will continue to listen to businesses as the coronavirus situation develops and may consider expanding these measures to assist other sectors if and when required. We will also consider providing flexibility with other temporary visas should the need arise.”

Minister for Education Dan Tehan said the changes would help supermarkets meet immediate demand with their existing workforce and allow international students to support themselves.

“Our government is working to minimise the impact of COVID-19 in the higher education sector, this includes the impact on students supporting themselves while they study,” Mr Tehan said.

“This initiative will give international students more flexibility to work while studying and also allow employers to meet demand during a busy period.”

Employers are still required to abide by all relevant Australian workplace laws. Students have the same rights under Australian workplace law as all other employees.

If you have questions about your visa, book a phone or Skype appointment to speak to one of our migration agents 

Visa holders inside Australia

I am a visa holder in Australia, my visa is about to expire and I cannot return to China. Can I extend my stay in Australia?
If you wish to remain in Australia beyond the expiry date of your current visa, you must apply for a further visa. Information on staying in Australia beyond your current visa expiry date can be found at:
When should I apply for another visa to remain in Australia?
An application should be made before your current visa expires. In this case, you may be eligible to be granted a bridging visa, which will keep you lawful in Australia until a decision is made on your visa application.
I am a visa holder in Australia and my current visa has the ‘No Further Stay’ condition attached? Can I stay in Australia?

If your current visa includes a ‘No Further Stay’ condition (includes 8503, 8534 and 8535), you are unable to make a valid application for most other visas while you are in Australia. If you wish to remain in Australia beyond your visa’s expiry date, a request to waive this condition must be made. Information on how to request a waiver can be found at:

We recommend that you not make a request for a ‘No Further Stay’ waiver if your current visa still has more than two – month’s validity remaining.

I am a visa holder in Australia and my visa has condition 8558 (Non Resident cannot stay for more than 12 months in any 18 month period) and I have already been in Australia for nearly 12 months in the last 18 months? Do I need to apply for a new visa in order to remain?

If you currently hold a visa which includes condition 8558, and you wish to remain in Australia for more than 12 months in any 18 month period, you will need to apply for a further visa in order to avoid breaching this condition.
I don’t have a valid visa. What do I do now?

If your visa has expired, you need to apply for a Bridging E visa (BVE) immediately in order to become lawful. A BVE is a short – term visa that lets you remain lawful while you make arrangements to leave, finalise immigration matters or wait for an immigration decision.

If you have questions about your visa, book a phone or Skype appointment to speak to one of our migration agents 

Visa holders & applicants outside Australia 

Do not attempt to travel to Australia within 14 days of leaving or transiting mainland China, unless you are:

  • an Australian citizen
  • a permanent resident
  • an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident including spouses / de facto partners, minor dependants and legal guardians
  • a New Zealand citizen resident in Australia
  • an accredited diplomat

See separate fact sheet if you are an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

Can I return to Australia using my Bridging B visa (BVB)?

No, unless you satisfy one of the above exemptions. Travel restrictions mean you will be unable to enter Australia while holding a temporary visa. If you have left or transited through mainland China within 14 days, do not attempt to travel to Australia. Bridging visas are not able to be granted if you are outside Australia. If your Bridging visa expires and you are outside Australia, you will need to apply for another visa once the travel restrictions have been lifted.

I am currently overseas and will not be able to enter Australia before my visa ceases. What do I need to do to travel to Australia?

If you are outside Australia and are unable to enter before your visa’s validity ceases, you will need to apply for a new visa if you wish to travel to Australia. It is not possible to extend the validity period of a visa.

I am a New Zealand citizen. What does ‘usually resident’ mean and how do I prove it?

Special Category (Subclass 444) visas granted to New Zealand citizens are not a permanent residence visa. However, if you usually reside in Australia, you will not be subject to the current travel restrictions. You may prove your residence in Australia by showing your driver’s license or documents in relation to homeownership or rental property at check-in.

I am a former permanent resident. Can I travel to Australia?

As a former permanent resident, you may be able to apply for a Resident Return visa, however, you will need to wait to be granted that visa before you can travel to Australia.

I think my visa has been cancelled. What do I do now?

Since the introduction of the temporary travel restrictions, the Department has cancelled a small number of temporary visas for persons who have attempted to travel to Australia.

These persons have been notified in writing of their visa cancellation and provided with advice on how to seek revocation of the cancellation decision. Revocation requests will be prioritised for consideration by the Department after the temporary travel restrictions have been lifted. Visas will be reinstated for people who can demonstrate they have been outside of mainland China for a minimum period of 14 days or if they fall within one of the existing exemption categories.
I have applied for a permanent visa. Will that still be processed?

The Department continues to process Skilled and Family permanent visas for people usually resident in China. Visas will be granted where travel restrictions are lifted.

Other countries will be processed as usual.

What do I do if I am unable to return to Australia to continue or commence my study due to the Coronavirus (COVID – 19) travel restrictions?

You should contact your education provider to discuss possible deferment of studies and other issues relating to your study, should you be unable to return to Australia to continue your study at this time.
I am in Australia and my student visa is expiring, can I get an extension?

Student visas cannot be extended. There are a number of visa pathways open for student visa holders to remain in Australia (including applying for another new student visa or a visitor visa ), provided you meet all necessary visa requirements.

If you have questions about your visa, book a phone or Skype appointment to speak to one of our migration agents 

Travel Restrictions 

The Australian Government announced on 12 March 2020 that travel restrictions will continue to apply to travellers arriving from any part of mainland China, Iran, Republic of Korea and Italy.

  • Foreign nationals (excluding permanent residents of Australia) who have been in the following countries will not be allowed to enter Australia for 14 days from the time they have left or transited through:
    • mainland China
    • Iran
    • Republic of Korea
    • Italy.
  • Australian citizens and permanent residents will still be able to enter, as will their immediate family members (spouses, legal guardians or dependants only). They will be required to self-isolate at home for 14 days from the day they left China, Iran, the Republic of Korea or Italy.
  • Australia will deny entry to anyone who has left or transited a country subject to travel restrictions within the previous 14 days, with the exception of:
    • Australian citizens
    • permanent residents
    • New Zealand citizens resident in Australia
    • immediate family members of Australian citizens and permanent residents including spouses, minor dependants and legal guardians
    • diplomats.
  • Limited exemptions also exist for airline and maritime crew, where they have taken appropriate precautionary measures.
  • These enhanced public safety measures will apply to those seeking to enter Australia as well as those seeking to transit through Australia en route to another country.
  • These measures are temporary and will be reviewed.

If you have questions about your visa, book a phone or Skype appointment to speak to one of our migration agents 

General informaiton about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Find more information about Coronovirus at the links belo:

For the latest information see Department of Health – Novel coronavirus

For advice on travelling outside of Australia see Smart Traveller.

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