The Australian government has introduced a plan to ensure that Australia will emerge stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic. A large part of this plan is about relaxing the visa policy in order to solve the labour shortage more quickly. This article briefly summarises the steps in this plan and also provides some information about the Australia visa.
Labour shortage after COVID-19 pandemic
The main focus of the recovery plan is to close the gap between labour supply and demand. The labour shortage occurred because many labour migrants moved back to their homelands after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many jobs that were previously executed by these temporary visa holders, have never been taken over by Australians. This is because, in many cases, they do not have the required skill set. Now that the Australian borders have been open for some time, the resulting gap is becoming increasingly palpable.
The large number of vacancies created by the departure of temporary visa holders is mainly felt in the pockets of companies. Now that the economy is improving, they have to spend a lot of time searching for new employees. Of course, it is a good sign that these employees are needed, because this means that the Australian economy is picking up again. However, it now seems that the shortage of employees is stopping this growth.
Backlog in processing visa applications
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the processing of many visa applications was put on hold. Only exemption applications were processed. The long border closure resulted in a large backlog in processing visa applications. Furthermore, many public servants left because there was not much work to be done. When the borders reopened again, there was a large increase in visa applications for Australia. The ministry was unable to employ new workers to process all these applications on time. The already existing backlog, combined with the large number of new visa applications and the shortage of staff, resulted in the backlog gradually increasing.
Meanwhile, the labour shortage at the ministry has for the most part been resolved. This has been done in part by making working overtime more attractive and by deploying staff from other departments. However, this does not seem to be enough. The governmentʼs plan therefore seeks to adjust the visa requirements themselves.
Changing the visa requirements
Some changes are being made regarding the processing of visa applications. For example, applications that do not include all required documents will be rejected right away. This saves the public servants who process the applications a lot of time, but could be unpleasant for the applicants. If a new application has to be submitted, it also needs to be paid for again. You do not have to worry about this if you apply for an eVisitor Visa through this website; no documents need to be provided for the eVisitor visa. In addition, the application form of e-Visa.ie contains automatic checks to ensure that certain common mistakes are spotted and can be corrected before the application is submitted to the Australian immigration service. An example is entering the letter O instead of the number 0. As the British passport always consists of 9 digits, there cannot be a letter O in a British passport number. In case it was entered incorrectly, the letter O is automatically converted to the number 0.
Other changes and concessions
Some visas have a cap on the number issued per year. For some of these visas, this maximum will be abolished, and for others, the maximum number will be increased. The Minister of Immigration, Citizenship, and Multicultural Affairs will also be given the power to grant concessions to certain groups that could benefit Australiaʼs economic recovery. Examples include concessions for migrants who, in one way or another, experience issues because of COVID-19. These include concessions in the form of extending their residence permit, waiving visa fees or allowing them to apply for another visa.
The Australian government hoped to sway people with a temporary residence permit to stay in Australia longer. They hope to do this by relaxing the labour restrictions on many visas. For example, the plan is to allow foreign students to work more hours and extend the length of stay on certain visas. It will also make it easier to obtain permanent residency as the list of occupations for which someone can apply for permanent residency is extended.
To Australia on an ETA or eVisitor visa
The previously mentioned processing backlogs and relaxations do not apply to ETA and eVisitor visa Australia. These visas can be used for a stay of up to three months in Australia and are suitable for a holiday or business trip. Which of these visas you should apply for online depends on your nationality. In addition, always keep in mind the requirements of the visa.
With the eVisitor visa, you can do training in Australia, study in the country or pursue work-related activities, as long as your stay does not exceed three months. The eVisitor visa Australia is valid for one year and within this validity period, you can visit Australia multiple times.
Whatever your travel purpose, it is always wise to take into account possible delays by applying for the required visa well in advance. This way, you are more likely to receive your visa on time.