Hong Kong Visa Streams

The Australian Government introduced special migration pathways and concessions for Hong Kong passport holders, whether HKSAR or British National (Overseas) passports, in response to the political situation within the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR).

Temporary Visa Concessions

  • 457 Hong Kong Stream
  • 482 Hong Kong Stream
  • 485 Hong Kong Stream

Subclass 457 Visa

Clause 10101 – The 457 visas held by the primary visa holders with BNO passports at the time of visa grant will remain in effect until 8 July 2025. This applies irrespective of whether the visa was granted before, on or after 9 July 2020. Employers will be able to continue to employ these visa holders without a new 482 nomination.

If the visa has ceased after 9 July 2020, it may be re-enlivened subject to the reason for cessation.

Subclass 482 Visa – Granted before 9 July 2020

Clause 10102 – The 482 visas held by the primary visa holders with BNO passports on 9 July 2022 will remain in effect until 8 July 2025. Employers will be able to continue to employ these visa holders without a new 482 nomination.

If the visa has ceased after 9 July 2020, it may be re-enlivened subject to the reason for cessation.

Subclass 482 Visa – Granted after 9 July 2020

Clause 10103 – The 482 visas provide for a grant period of five (5) years to BNO passport holders, whether the application was made before, on or after 9 July 2020.

Subclass 485 – Granted before 9 July 2020

Clause 10104 – The 485 visas held on 9 July 2020 by BNO passport holders will remain in effect until 8 July 2025. If the visa has ceased since 9 July 2020 it may be re-enlivened subject to the reason for cessation.

Subclass 485 – Granted on or after 9 July 2020 and before 3 November 2021

Clause 10105 – The 485 visas provide for a grant period of five (5) years to BNO passport holders where they were granted on or after 9 July 2020 and before 3 November 2021, unless the visas were second 485 visas.

Subclass 485 – Granted from 3 November 2021

The 485 visas will be granted to BNO passport holders under clause 485.513 for a period of five (5) years.

Permanent Visa Concessions

The new instrument inserts a new Hong Kong stream within the Subclasses 189 and 191 visa classes. These new Hong Kong streams will be open from 5 March 2022.

  • 189 Hong Kong stream
  • 190 Hong Kong stream

Subclass 189 Hong Kong

This visa stream is intended that the applicants have demonstrated a strong commitment to Australia whilst holding one or more “eligible” temporary visas. The requirements include:

  • The primary applicant must hold a HKSAR or a BNO passport; and
  • The application must be made by a person who has held a Subclass 457, 482 or 485 visa covered by the Hong Kong concessions (valid until 8 July 2025 or for five years) for four (4) years; and
  • Both primary and secondary applicants meet PIC 4007.

Children included in the Subclass 457, 482 or 485 visa will continue to be considered a member of the family even after they have turned 23 years old for the Subclass 189 Hong Kong stream application.

Subclass 191 Hong Kong

The requirements for the new Subclass 191 Hong Kong stream include:

  • The primary applicant must hold a HKSAR or a BNO passport and
  • The application must be made by the primary visa holder of a Subclass 457, 482 or 485 visa covered by the Hong Kong concessions; and
  • The primary and secondary applicants must have lived, worked or studied exclusively in a designated regional area for the three (3) years immediately before applying, whilst holding the Subclass 457, 482 or 485 visa (unless SC 457 transitional concessions apply); and
  • There is no requirement to meet the income threshold for these three (3) years before applying for this Hong Kong stream.
  • Both primary and secondary applicants meet PIC 4007.

Children included in the Subclass 457, 482 or 485 visa will continue to be considered a member of the family even after they have turned 23 years old for the Subclass 189 Hong Kong stream application.

 Concessions for Families of Hong Kong Visa Streams

Most visa subclasses permit applicants to include partners and dependent children into their applications. One area where issues commonly arise is where a child turns 18 or 23 years of age whilst the primary applicant is waiting to meet a particular residency requirement. For this reason, further concessions have been made for children of Hong Kong concession visa applicants after turning 23.

In short, any dependent applicant in a Hong Kong concession visa application will be deemed to be dependent, provided they hold a Subclass 485, 482 or 457 visa as a secondary holder. The effect is that adult children can migrate with their parents, even after having come of age, or having reached 23 years of age whilst on their parent’s temporary visa.

Conclusion

The above concessions under subclass 191 and 189 will offer a lifeline to thousands of Hong Kong temporary visa holders working and studying in Australia, whilst simultaneously ensuring that the integrity of Australia’s migration system remains in check. Such applicants, through their Australian study or employer sponsorship, will need to demonstrate their commitment to their new home and the contribution they are capable of making to the community at large. Whilst it can be argued that more ought to be done, the current reforms go a great way in promoting ties between the people of Australia and Hong Kong.

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