Australia has announced a two-year extension for eligible engineering visa holders who lost time in Australia due to Covid-19 border restrictions.
Engineering graduates with the Skilled Recognised Graduate (subclass 476) visa will get their visas extended by 24 months by the Australian government.
The extension will allow engineering graduates to live, work and study in Australia with the usual length of the visa and an additional six months.
In an official statement, Australian Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alex Hawke announced the two-year extension would allow current and former holders of the subclass 476 visa to enter or remain in Australia until April 2024.
He also said that the extension recognises the importance of qualified engineers to Australia’s economy as the country continues to recover following the Covid-19 pandemic.
The statement also said there were thousands of graduate engineers who lost time in Australia by being stranded offshore due to border closures.
The two-year extension of the subclass 476 visa is expected to come into effect in April 2022, subject to revisions to the Migration Regulations 1994.
Eligible engineering visa holders will be allowed to enter Australia after being notified by Australia’s Department of Home Affairs about their visa extensions.
Graduate engineers whose visas have already expired will also be eligible for the extensions, provided they were unable to utilise the entirety of their original visa due to border closures and travel restrictions.
The decision to extend the Skilled Recognised Graduate visa was met with delight and hailed as a just and fair result for graduate engineers who had been stranded outside Australia due to travel restrictions.
Earlier in December 2021, Australia reopened its borders for fully vaccinated international students, Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) and Skilled Recognised Graduate (subclass 476) visa holders and tourists.
In addition to extending the subclass 476 visa, the Australian government has also announced it will allow student visa holders to work additional hours in the country’s critical sectors.
The Morrison government will remove limits on the working hours of secondary Training (subclass 407) visa holders across all sectors of the economy in a move to support local businesses following the pandemic.
The removal of limits on working hours’ takes effect immediately for existing and new Training (subclass 407) visa holders, and will be reviewed further in April 2022.