Hong Kong passport holders have good news when it comes to immigration to Australia, as the Australian government implemented a new legal framework that grants easy access to permanent residency in this country. The new, favorable immigration rules, are prescribed under the Migration Legislation Amendment (Hong Kong) Regulations and it refers to the 485 visa for Hong Kong passport holders.
In this article, we will present more information regarding the new legislation and if you have any questions regarding it, we invite you to address to our immigration lawyer in Australia, who can present any additional rules you might be interested in; of course, our attorney can provide extensive details on any other visa and immigration procedures applicable in this country.
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What are the new rules under the 485 visa Hong Kong?
First of all, it is necessary to know that this visa program does not address to all foreigners who arrive from Hong Kong and who are passport holders issued in Hong Kong. It is specifically designed for Hong Kong passport holders who are currently in Australia and who have arrived here for the purpose of studying or working in this country.
The 485 visa for Hong Kong nationals is created so that such persons can benefit from a simpler access to permanent residency, if they want to migrate to Australia on a permanent basis. In the list below, you can discover the main highlights of this visa program:
- the law was released on 28 October 2021, under the name of Migration Legislation Amendment (Hong Kong) Regulations 2021;
- it is addressed to those who are the holders of the Temporary Graduate visa (Subclass 485) or of the Temporary Skilled Shortage visas (Subclass 457 and the Subclass 482);
- the holders of these visas will benefit from an extension on their visas for a period of 5 years;
- the extension is applicable starting with 9 July 2020 and Hong Kong visas holders can benefit from it in specific conditions;
- they have to be the holders of any of the visas mentioned here, and they must have arrived here under either the Subclass 189 – the Hong Kong Stream, either the Subclass 191 – the Hong Kong (Regional) Stream.
For each of the two basic streams available for Hong Kong foreigners, the visas holders have to comply with different eligibility rules. In the next section, we invite you to discover the eligibility criteria for the 485 visa for Hong Kong nationals, which can open the pathway to migrate to Australia on a permanent basis.
485 visa Hong Kong – main eligibility criteria
According to the new rules on immigration in Australia, one can apply for this new visa and become permanent resident, if certain conditions are met. Depending on the visa stream under which one arrived here, different conditions are required. Thus, for those who arrived here under the Subclass 189, there is the requirement to prove that the visa holder has been living in Australia for the last four years since the moment when the visa was issued.
For those who arrived here under the Subclass 191 stream, the law on immigration in Australia stipulates that one can apply for the new visa if the applicant has been living in Australia for the last three years, on a continuous basis, in a certain regional area of this country.
The law regarding the new 485 visa for Hong Kong citizens does not impose any special conditions for the applicant, as it can be the case for other visas that provide the right to permanent residency. It must be noted that the applicants do not have to prove their English language skills, or go through a skills assessment, nor do they have to comply with a minimum income threshold.
Please mind that the application process has not yet been open, Hong Kong applicants interested in this new visa can start the legal formalities beginning with 5 March 2020. According to the Australian officials, at this moment, there are more than 8,800 persons from Hong Kong who would be eligible for the 485 visa Hong Kong.
Please consider that if you are a citizen from Hong Kong who arrived in this country under any other visas that are not presented in this article, you will not be able to apply for the new visa. If you are interested in permanent residency, you will need to explore other visa pathways, depending on the primary visa that you currently hold. For advice on other options, our Australia migration lawyer remains at your disposal.
We invite you to contact our immigration in Australia if you need advice not only on how to become a permanent resident, but also how to become a citizen, which is possible for foreigners unrelated to Australians, through a process known as naturalization.
Please mind that obtaining permanent residency and citizenship in Australia are 2 separate procedures with different rules. Applying for permanent residency is required for persons who want to relocate here on an indefinite basis.
However, applying for citizenship is not mandatory, is an optional pathway for those who feel like they identify with the Australian society.
Being the holder of a Subclass 485 visa can open the pathway to permanent residence in Australia, but this depends on the type of visa the person applied for, because there are 2 categories.
The first one is a graduate work stream visa that is issued for a period of 18 months, while the 2nd refers to the post-study work stream, which is issued for a period of 2-4 years.