Visa Crunch

Refunds and waivers of fees for various temporary Australian visa holders.

Temporary Australian visa holders have been in a fix due to the COVID-19 restrictions that have caused a delay in their travel plans. Australia imposed a full lockdown on national borders in March 2020, with an opening of borders not looking to happen till 2021.

However, the Australian government has offered some relief to most temporary visa holders, by awarding waivers, refunds and extensions, depending upon the category of the visa.

Under this new scheme, visitor visa holders who are currently not in Australia, and their visas are set to expire between March 2020 and December 2021, can apply to get a fee waiver when they apply for a renewal. While this will surely help tourists, who had to defer or cancel their plans of visiting Australia, it will also help the parents of international students in Australia who want to visit their children.

A similar waiver will also be awarded to temporary skilled workers who were not able to enter Australia or have returned to their home country after the onset of the pandemic.

Holders of Prospective Marriage Visas, which allow the holder to travel to and enter Australia to marry an Australian citizen or permanent resident, will be eligible for a refund. Other categories eligible for a refund include individuals on the Seasonal Worker Program and the Pacific Labour Scheme, if they had made a successful visa application, and had been granted a visa before the 20th of March 2020.

International students whose study plans have been disrupted by the pandemic will be able to apply for a student visa free of charge to complete their original study plans. This applies to students who had to defer their study due to the imposed travel restrictions, or had to take up a part-time study, or had their placements of work-based training disrupted.

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