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Hong Kong/BNO Passport Holders Visa Extensions and Pathways to Permanent Residency

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Under the Migration Amendment (Hong Kong Passport Holders) Regulations 2020, the Australian Government implemented special adjusted visa settings and concessions for Hong Kong passport holders. These concessions came into effect on 9 July 2020 and continue to only apply to Subclass 457, 482 and 485 visa holders.

Under recently announced amendments to the legislation, the Australian Government has now moved to provide the same concessions and arrangements to holders of British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders.

These amendments will be applied retrospectively from 9 July 2020. This will mean that those with relevant visas which have ceased since 9 July 2020 may have the visa re-enlivened (subject to reason for cessation) to take advantage of these conditions if a new substantive visa has not been granted or the visa was cancelled.

Changes under the Temporary Visa Subclasses for BNO Passport Holders – Primary Visa Holders

Subclass 457

  • Where a primary visa holder held a BNO passport at the time of the S 457 visa grant, this visa will remain in effect until 8 July 2025
  • Employers will be able to continue to employ these visa holders without the requirement to apply for a new nomination for a SC 482
  • The visa holder will remain subject to Condition 8107

TSS Subclass 482

Granted before 9 July 2020:

  • Visa held by BNO primary visa holder will remain in effect until 8 July 2025
  • Employers will be able to continue to employ these visa holders without the requirement to apply for a new nomination for a SC 482  
  • The visa holder will remain subject to Condition 8607

Granted on or after 9 July 2020:

  • Granted for a period of five years, whether the application was made before, on or after 9 July 2020

Temporary Graduate Subclass 485

Granted before 9 July 2020:

  • Visas held by BNO passport holder on 9 July 2020 will remain in effect until 8 July 2025

 Granted on or after 9 July 2020 and before 3 November 2021:

  • Granted for a period of five years, where the application was made after 9 July 2020 and before 3 November 2021
  • Does not apply where the visa was a second SC 485.

Granted on or after 3 November 2021:

  • Granted for a period of five years

Permanent Residency Pathways – HKSAR and BNO Passport Holders

The amendments will also insert a new Hong Kong stream within the Subclass 189 and 191 visa classes providing permanent residency pathways for both HKSAR and BNO passport holders.

The new Hong Kong streams will be open from 5 March 2022.

Subclass 189 – Skilled Independent Visa – Hong Kong Stream

Requirements:

  • Primary applicant must hold a HKSAR or a BNO passport;
  • Application must be made by the primary visa holder of a SC 457, 482 or 485 visa covered by the Hong Kong concessions (valid until 8 July 2025 or for five years);
  • Must have held that visa for 4 years (unless transitional SC 457 conditions apply);
  • Have been usually resident in Australia for 4 years; and
  • Both primary and secondary applicants meet PIC 4007

Subclass 191 – Permanent Residence – Skilled Regional Visa – Hong Kong Stream

The SC191 visa has been restructured to create two streams for primary applicants:

  • Regional Provision stream
  • Hong Kong (Regional) stream

 Requirements (Hong Kong stream):

  • Primary applicant must hold a HKSAR or a BNO passport;
  • Application must be made by the primary visa holder of a SC 457, 482 or 485 visa covered by the Hong Kong concessions;
  • Must have lived, worked or studied exclusively in a designated regional area for the 3 years immediately before applying;
  • Has held that visa while meeting the regional requirements for 3 years (unless SC457 transitional concessions apply);
  • Have been usually resident in Australia for a continuous period of 3 years immediately before applying; and
  • Both primary and secondary applicants meet PIC 4007

More Information

If you would like any further information on the amendments being implemented under the Migration Legislation Amendment (Hong Kong) Regulations 2021, or to discuss your matter, please contact our office.

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