Australia will extend visas of those eligible skilled, recognised graduate (subclass 476) visa holders who lost time in Australia due to covid 19 international border restrictions.
Eligible Skilled Recognised Graduate (Subclass 476) visa will have their visas extended for 24 months as they lost time due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.
This extension will provide eligible visa holders with the usual length of the visa plus an additional six months.
Minister for immigration citizenship migration services and multicultural affairs Alex Hawke said this would allow current and former skilled recognised graduate visa holders to enter or remain in Australia until April 2024.
“This measure recognises the importance of qualified engineers to Australia’s economy, particularly as we continue to manage the covid 19 recovery,” Minister Hawke said.
Skilled Recognised Graduate (Subclass 476) visa allows recent engineering graduates to live, work or study in Australia.
Australia’s international border is open to fully vaccinated students and temporary graduates, and skilled recognised graduate visa holders from 15 December 2021.
Several thousand skilled recognised graduate visa holders lost time in Australia due to travel restrictions. The extension is expected to take effect in April 2022, subject to amendments to the migration regulation 1994, and eligible visa holders will be notified directly by the department of home affairs of the extension of their visa. They may arrive in Australia after this occurs.
It will also apply to people whose visas have already expired, providing they were unable to use the entire length of their original visa due to covid restrictions.
Graduate students who had applied for Australian visa subclass 476 before the COVID pandemic began and could not enter Australia for the last two years, had been appealing to the immigration minister to restore validity for their expired visas.
Australian Greens Senator for Tasmania, Nick McKim had also called for an extension of visa 476 that have expired in the last 21 months due to pandemic-enforced border closure. In a letter addressed to Alex Hawke, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, Mr McKim had requested the minister to urgently look into the matter.
Senator McKim welcomed the news.
“Welcome news at last for holders of 476 visas – graduate engineers – who have been stranded overseas due to Covid travel restrictions. This is a just and fair result. Congratulations to everyone who has campaigned so hard for this outcome,” he tweeted.