Visa Options And Pathways To Australian Permanent Residency For Hong Kong Nationals

Attracting ‘Global Talent’ to Australia


As political and social tensions rise in Hong Kong, the Australian Government has responded by offering Hong Kong citizens on temporary visa’s in Australia and potential future applicants; a ‘safe haven visa’ to prevent them from forcibly returning to Hong Kong.

Further to an announcement by the Australian Prime Minister on 9 July 2020, it was confirmed that students, temporary graduates and skilled workers from Hong Kong who want to study, live and/or work in Australia will be able to apply to stay in Australia with a pathway to permanent residency.

The Government hopes to attract high skilled candidates and businesses from Hong Kong to Australia to increase productivity with the objective that this would act as a ‘job multiplier’ for the domestic Australian workforce.

There are currently approximately 10,000 students, temporary graduates and skilled workers from Hong Kong in Australia who may be eligible for these changes, with a further 2,500 outside Australia and 1,250 applications on hand.

Specifically, the below changes for each group of Hong Kong nationals will be effective:


Temporary Graduates

🔹 will be offered an additional five years of work rights.

🔹 will be offered a pathway to permanent residency at the end of that period.


Students

🔹 Current and future students will be eligible for a five-year graduate visa when their studies have completed.

🔹 Current and future students will be offered a pathway to permanent residency at the end of that period.


Skilled Workers

🔹 Current temporary skilled visa holders from Hong Kong will be eligible for an extension of five years from today in addition to the time they have already been in Australia,

🔹 Also, they will be offered a pathway to permanent residency at the end of that period.


Applicants Who Already Work And Study In Regional Areas

🔹 will be able to access a pathway to permanent residency after 3 years.


Future Hong Kong Applicants For Temporary Skilled Visas

🔹 will be eligible for a five-year visa with pathway to permanent residency after 5 years

🔹 eligibility will be subject to updated skills lists and Labour Market Testing requirements or,

🔹 they may qualify through the Global Talent temporary visa scheme,

🔹 this scheme is for exceptional talent where the sponsoring employer pays above the Fair Work High Income Threshold of $153,600.


The Australian Government is considering further incentives to attract business in Hong Kong, such as export oriented businesses to relocate to Australia in the hope of creating growth and employment. There will be economic incentives and pathways to permanent residency for critical Hong Kong based staff.

It is planned that this will be done using the current ‘Global Talent and Business Innovation and Investment’ Australian visa Programs, which are both part of the permanent migration program. These programs will be prioritised to facilitate the Hong Kong caseload, additionally, the Australian visa application centre in Hong Kong will re-open (which had shut down due to COVID19).


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