New visa concessions offer permanent residency pathways for select skilled migrants and post-study visa rights for returning international students

On 25 November 2021, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alex Hawke announced new special temporary concessions for around 200,000 highly skilled visa holders in Australia.


These positive changes will take affect gradually from 1 December 2021 to 1 July 2022 and will primarily benefit the following visa holder groups:


  1. Temporary Skills Shortage visa (subclass 482) (TSS) and Legacy TSS (subclass 457) visa


The concession presents an exciting opportunity for 20,000 skilled migrants who remained in Australia during the pandemic, to be eligible for permanent residency. This will apply to:


  • primary holders of the TSS (short-term stream) who will no longer be subject to the two-year stay limitation in Australia; and
  • primary visa holders of the now discontinued subclass 457 visa who previously did not meet the age cap.


  1. Skilled Regional (provisional) visa (subclass 489, 491 and 494)


Current and expired visa holders of the skilled regional provisional visas, including the 9,000 holders who have remained overseas and unable to travel to Australia due to COVID border restrictions, will now be able to apply for a visa extension; offering additional time to meet the regional work requirements for a permanent residency application.


  1. Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485)


The new concessions delivers targeted measures in support of Australia’s international education sector by awarding further study and post-study visa rights for students returning in the 2022 academic year including:


  • 30,000 current and former subclass 485 visa holders, whose visas expired on or after 1 February 2020 and unable to enter Australia due to border restrictions, will be able to seek a replacement subclass 485 visa to remain in Australia to live, study or work after graduation;


  • The stay period for students completing a masters by coursework will be extended permanently to three years to match that of masters by research graduate;


  • Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector graduates will also be receiving a two-year Subclass 485 visa.


  • Students who spent time completing online studies while offshore will continue to have their study recognised in meeting qualification requirements for the subclass 485 under the extension of existing measures; and


  • Streamlined application processing with the removal of the skills occupation list nomination requirements for the subclass 485 from 1 July 2022.


TANG LAW is pleased to hear of the Government’s continued recognition of skilled migrant workers and the return of international students to Australia in support of our COVID economic recovery efforts coming into the new year.


The Migration Team of TANG LAW has significant experience in preparing and lodging a variety of visa applications. If you would like to see advice on your immigration options, give us a call today and we can help you find the best pathway for your migration journey to Australia.



Exciting New Changes at Australia’s Border

TANG LAW is pleased to hear of a selection of new, long-awaited updates to border policies in Australia.

International Borders Re-opening

On 1 October 2021, the Australian Government announced its intention to begin the gradual process of opening its international borders conditional on the success of the nationwide vaccination plan for States and Territories reaching 80% full vaccination rates.

NSW will kick off this process from the start of November, with fully vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents permitted to leave and re-enter the State still having to quarantine for 14 days and get a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours upon arrival. These restrictions will be removed upon the state reaching 90% full vaccination levels. Those under 12 years old and exempt from getting the vaccinations will be receiving a ‘recognised vaccination’ permitting them to travel.

However, the implementation and quarantine arrangements of this policy will vary nationwide with many jurisdictions not due to reach the full vaccinate rates until December 2021 and some may enforce home quarantine programs on re-entering Australia. WA Premier Mark McGowan has stated to not expect the State will open its borders until 2022.

Temporary Visa Holders

Under these rules from November, those holding a temporary visa will generally be permitted to leave the country, but still subject to restrictions in re-entering Australia. The Australian Government has yet to make a decision on the following groups of visa holders:

  • Skilled visas;
  • Student visas; or
  • International visitors travelling under an ETA or international visa arrangement.

Therefore, travel to Australia will generally not be open to temporary residents during the initial stages of this border re-opening policy and such changes not expected to be introduced until next year.

Travel Exemptions Update

On 15 October 2021, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that parents of Australian citizens and permanent citizens will be classified as immediate family for purposes of travel exemptions to enter Australia.

This is great news for many families who have been seeking options for their mothers and/or fathers to join them in Australia since the start of pandemic restrictions from March 2020. These updates also come as hopeful news for many in time for Christmas celebrations!

The Migration team at TANG LAW has significant experience in preparing and lodging a variety of visa applications. If you would like to seek advice on your immigration options, give us a call today and we can help you find the best pathway for your migration journey to Australia.


Starick Information Event

Last week, Sophie Manera (Partner), Briony Chen (lawyer) and Alexia Avdoulas (law clerk) of the Migration Team at TANG LAW had the opportunity to present at an information event at STARICK. STARICK is a not-for-profit organisation that supports women and children escaping family and domestic violence.

Tang Law would like to extend our appreciation to all the staff in attendance for the great engagement during our presentation addressing visa options for women who are victims and/or survivors of family and domestic violence. The open discussion highlighted many common concerns:

  • Eligibility for a partner visa
  • Special provisions relating to family and domestic violence.
  • How to prove family and domestic violence to the Department of Home Affairs?
  • What happens with a visa or visa application if there is a relationship breakdown?
  • The common myth that a partner/sponsor can enforce a threat to cancel an applicant’s visa or visa application.
  • Other visa options for women including work or study visas based on skill and/or qualifications, or a contributory parent visa.
  • Available resources in the community.

It was also great to hear from members of the ‘Red Cross Financial Assistance Program’ presenting on a new program working to assist all people with temporary visa holders or those with uncertain visa status, experiencing family and domestic violence in need of financial support.

  • (from left to right: Starick CEO – Leanne Barron, Tang Law Partner – Sophie Manera, Tang Law Lawyer – Briony Chen)

Please contact these organisations directly if you are seeking assistance for family and domestic violence matters, or financial assistance as a temporary visa holder/uncertain visa status.

TANG LAW has significant experience in preparing and lodging visa applications. Give us a call today if you would like to know more about your most suitable visa pathway.



Western Australia is considered at the forefront of Australia’s response to COVID-19, and its state economy is booming despite the adverse impacts of the pandemic. In a recent media statement, Premier Mark McGowan attributed this strong position to the underlying strength of WA’s economy and its positive collaboration with the business sector. He also acknowledged the rising dilemma of significant pressures placed on the availability of skilled workers in WA.  

On 5 July 2021, the WA Government announced a range of immediate initiatives to help fill this gap, with long-term solutions to be confirmed at the rescheduled Skills Summit on 30 July 2021.  

Western Australian skilled migration occupation list (WASMOL) 

One of the initiatives is the expansion of the WASMOL, with 134 new occupations from high-demand industries added to the list. 

TANG LAW is pleased to hear of this development, as it will allow greater opportunities for skilled migrants to become eligible for WA State nomination, where Australians cannot take up jobs necessary to meet demand.  

WASMOL now comprises two separate lists for reference: 

  1. General Stream WASMOL Schedule 1 

This Schedule generally includes occupations in the medical fields, such as dentists, nurses, pharmacists, and surgeons. Existing requirements will apply to applications for State nomination under Schedule 1.  

  1. General Stream WASMOL Schedule 2 

This second Schedule includes a substantially wider range of occupations, including accountants, engineers, technicians, programmers, mechanics, managers, trade workers, teachers, and veterinarians. 

There are updated requirements for applicants with occupations listed on this Schedule. These include: 

  • Meeting the Department of Home Affairs criteria for intended visa subclass; 
  • Meeting the minimum English requirements for the occupation; and  
  • Having a 12-month full-time employment contract in WA in the nominated (or closely related) occupation.  

The Graduate Occupational List (GOL) remains available to applicants intending to apply for State nomination through the Graduate stream. Graduate stream requirements have remained unchanged.  

If you have been thinking about applying for a visa through WA State nomination but have found yourself ineligible for the Graduate stream or constrained by the limited number of occupations, now is the time to act.  

The migration team at TANG LAW has significant experience in preparing a lodging a wide variety of skilled visa applications. Give us a call today and we can help you find the most suitable visa pathway for you to achieve your migration dreams. 

About Writer

Ken Chong brings significant experience in preparing and lodging a variety of visa and sponsorship applications, in addition to dealing with complex immigration and citizenship law matters such as visa refusals, cancellations, identity concerns, character issues, merits review and judicial review applications.

Ken prides himself upon his disciplined approach and unwavering dedication to quality work. Being of foreign background himself, he readily establishes rapport with Tang Law’s culturally diverse clientele and has a first-hand understanding of many of the obstacles faced by hopeful migrants seeking to call Australia home.


Department of Home Affairs Doubled Number of Occupations on Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List

Last Tuesday, the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Aff​airs announced the inclusion of 22 additional skilled professions on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL), expanding the list to 41 occupations.

The Migration Team at Tang Law are pleased to see the continued development of the PMSOL, and recognition of the support of critical sector workers in Australia’s COVID economic recovery efforts.

Now among those in line to fast-track their visa applications are IT and Software specialists, Accountants and Auditors, and Chefs.

Contact Tang Law if you would like to know more about your visa options.

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