Australia announces closure of Pandemic Event visa

By Our Reporter

In a significant move, the Albanese Labor Government has revealed its decision to cease the issuance of the Pandemic Event visa starting from February 2024. This step is aimed at bringing certainty to the visa system, given the altered circumstances that initially necessitated the implementation of this visa category.

Effective September 2, 2023, only existing Pandemic Event visa holders will be eligible to submit applications for this visa category. This change is part of a transitional strategy designed to enhance visa integrity.

The closure of this visa category aligns with the government’s ongoing efforts to reshape Australia’s migration framework. This restructuring is in response to the challenges inherited from the previous administration, which had led to extensive backlogs, delays, and a multitude of waitlists. an official press release said.

The Albanese Government’s proactive approach to rectifying this situation has been evident, and it recently concluded a series of pandemic-related measures. These measures included the termination of unrestricted work hours for international students and work exemptions for Working Holiday visa holders. The collective impact of these measures is expected to exert downward pressure on Net Overseas Migration, facilitating a return to pre-pandemic levels of population growth.

From September 2, 2023, new Pandemic Event visa applications will be granted for a duration of six months, accompanied by a Visa Application Charge of $405 AUD. These modifications are intended to ensure that the visa is availed only by individuals with a genuine and pertinent need to contribute to Australia’s growth.

For those who currently possess a Pandemic Event visa and wish to explore alternative visa options, meeting the criteria specific to the desired visa category will be imperative. It is anticipated that individuals without viable avenues for alternative visa applications will be expected to depart Australia upon the expiration of their current visa.

Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, and Multicultural Affairs, Andrew Giles, commented, “The Pandemic Event visa played a crucial role in Australia’s visa landscape throughout the pandemic. Many temporary visa holders made significant contributions to the country during this challenging period. By offering Pandemic Event visa holders an opportunity to explore other visa pathways or to plan their departure from Australia, we are acknowledging their contribution and fostering a well-organized migration system.”

Minister Giles further stated, “Unlike the previous administration, we are committed to delivering a migration system that functions effectively. Our efforts are geared towards ensuring that the system is responsive as our borders gradually reopen. The strides we’ve made in reducing wait times reflect our determination to rectify a decade of mismanagement under the previous leadership.”

The cessation of the Pandemic Event visa, coupled with the wider reforms to the migration system, marks another chapter in the Albanese Government’s endeavors to streamline immigration procedures and serve the best interests of the Australian populace.

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