The DHA has removed the requirement to enter Australia by the “first entry date” removing a lot of stress for many offshore visa grantees.
The DHA’s announcement
“If you have been granted one of the below visas and you are unable to make your first entry into Australia by the date specified in your Grant Notification letter due to the travel restrictions currently in place due to COVID-19, please refer to the attached Information for First Entry to Australia (see document below).
Generally you will be able to arrive in Australia after the initial entry date, as long as it is before the “Must not arrive after date” specified in your visa Grant Notification letter. You do not need to be granted an “extension” to your initial entry date or visa.
The attached notice should be sufficient evidence for a travel provider to be satisfied that the visa holder can enter Australia as the holder of a Skilled visa. Visa holder(s) may wish to carry a copy of this notice to present to the airline when checking in at the airport and on arrival into Australia. Please note that some delays may be encountered upon arrival into Australia while visa validity is verified.
- Skilled Independent (subclass 189)
- Skilled Nominated (subclass 190)
- Skilled Regional (subclass 489)
- Skilled Work Regional (subclass 491)
We cannot extend the validity period of your visa. If your Skilled Migration visa ceases and you have not entered Australia you will need to apply for another visa.
You can check visa details and conditions through Visa Entitlement Verification Online system (VEVO).
If you hold a Business Skills or Distinguished Talent visa please send an email to: email@example.com
This office cannot assist with, and will not respond to, facilitation requests for other visa subclasses and you will need to contact the office that granted that visa.
If you hold a Skilled—Recognised Graduate visa (subclass476) please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org”
What does this mean?
The most important aspect of the announcement is that if you have been granted a:
- Subclass 189 visa
- Subclass 190 visa
- Subclass 489 visa or a
- Subclass 491 visa
….. And you are concerned that your first entry date is rapidly approaching, the DHA has waived the requirement to enter Australia by the first entry date that you have on your visa grant letter.
You do not need to seek special permission to travel after your first entry date – and there will be no penalties for doing so.
Despite not being bound by your first entry date though, it is important to keep in mind that you must enter before the “latest date” listed on your visa grant letter. This date is five years after the date of your visa grant. Should you not enter before this date, then you will need to apply for a new visa.
This is a very sensible and welcome piece of news from the DHA, considering that the travel restrictions are still very securely in place.