We understand it can be really challenging for all of you who have had your exciting plans changed as travel restrictions have been implemented.
We want to share an update from our end, including everything we currently know about:
- Australian Federal Budget released
- My visa is still in application – what happens now?
- Working Holiday Visa holders
- Australian Vaccine program
- Visa support
- anzuk and you
We’re here to help and answer any more questions that we can!
Australian Federal Budget released
Here it is everyone – On May 11th, the Australian Federal budget was announced and it’s not quite the news most of us were hoping for.
The Australian Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, has declared that Australian borders will remain closed until mid-2022.
In the budget papers, the government have stated the following:
“The rate of international arrivals will continue to be constrained by state and territory quarantine caps over 2021 and the first half of 2022, with the exception of passengers from safe travel zones.”
“Inbound and outbound international travel is expected to remain low through to mid-2022, after which a gradual recovery in international tourism is assumed to occur.”
In slightly more positive news for international students, the budget papers say “Small phased programs for international students will commence in late 2021 and gradually increase from 2022”.
The government will continue to prioritise onshore visa applications, with a focus on partner visas.
You can read the Australian Federal Budget 2021-22 here.
My visa is still in application – what happens now?
If you have applied for a working holiday or other temporary visa type (ie. 491), unfortunately this means your application will remain in limbo until the borders reopen.
Want to withdraw your application? The Department of Home Affairs have given the instructions on how to do so here. Make sure you reach out and let us know too!
I have a Working Holiday Visa but returned home early/never arrived in Australia
If you were granted a Working Holiday Maker visa and it expired or will expire between 20 March 2020 and 31 December 2021 while you are outside Australia, you may be able to receive a Visa Application Charge (VAC) waiver for a future application, or a refund. A VAC waiver will be available for a future application if you were unable to travel to Australia because of travel restrictions or had to leave Australia early due to COVID-19.
If you cannot be granted another WHM visa because you no longer meet the age requirement, you can request a VAC refund using the Covid-19 travel restrictions VAC refund request form.
Applications with a VAC waiver and VAC refund requests must be lodged by 31 December 2022.
Will teachers be added to the exemption list?
The government haven’t alluded to extending the current critical sectors and skills list to include teachers. More information on who is currently on the list can be found here.
What about the vaccine program?
Vaccines are still being rolled out across Australia, with the government committing $1.9 billion (AUD) to their 5-year strategy. There are no target dates or numbers set, other than “a population-wide vaccination program is likely to be in place by the end of 2021”.
The government have not mentioned any plans to grant exemptions for international travellers if they have a vaccine passport.
Need support with your visa?
We are affiliated with Visa Go Australia, registered migration agents specialising in Australian visas. Darren and the team at Visa Go will be able to provide you with advice tailored to your specific situation and needs. If you’d like to chat with them, please complete a free visa assessment here.
anzuk and you
We will continue to keep you posted with new developments and provide resources & information sessions to help keep your plans on track. In the meantime, please reach out if you would like support from any of our UK teams. We have offices that cover the following locations:
- Bristol & SW England