The opening of Australia’s borders indicated good news for many international students and highly skilled workers. But the international borders are currently closed to everyone except for the citizens, permanent residents and immediate families. Consequently, the temporary visa holders who fall under the category of subclass 485 are not able to return to Australia.
For instance, Sapna Verma, an Indian national from Ludhiana, Punjab, had an aim to study and work in Australia. Furthermore, her mother spent more than $80,000 on her degree in Bachelor of Technology from Deakin University at Victoria.
Having finished her studies in 2019, Ms Verma was eligible to work in Australia for the following two years, but she was unable to due to the Pandemic. Then she returned home in March 2020 to spend some time with her mother, and ever since then; she was stuck in her home country.
The temporary graduate visa that ensured that she could have worked for two years based on her Bachelor’s degree expired. Moreover, the new notice for the reapplication of the subclass 485 visa indicates that students and workers need to wait further.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke recently, in an official statement, said that temporary Graduate visa holders who underwent time loss due to travel restrictions could reapply. According to the new notice, they will have the opportunity to apply for another subclass 485 visa from 1st July 2022.
Sapna Verma is among 30,000 former international students of Australia who either hold or have held a temporary visa in the past two years.Out of which, 14,000 people are stuck overseas due to border restrictions.
Australian Greens Senator for Tasmania weighed into the matter and wrote a letter to Mr Hawke, but he did not respond. However, he emphasised that many people are stuck in limbo through no fault of their own. He also said that the Minister should look into the matter urgently and prioritise their return as soon as possible.
Senator Mckim added that the processing of visa applications across a range of visa classes has often been subject to indefinite procedural delays. The Home Affairs and Minister have continuously failed to resolve the issue.