Great news for Subclass 457 and 482 visa holders applying for the Subclass 186 visa via the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream!
Transitional concessions for TRT applicants
A key requirement of the Subclass 186 Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream is that the Subclass 457 or 482 visa holder must have worked for their sponsor for at least 3 years on a full time basis (or 2 years under grandfathering provisions).
However due to COVID-19, many workers have had hours or salaries reduced, or been stood down. There has been major concern over how this would impact the ability of applicants to meet the 3-year full-time work requirement.
Fortunately, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has just announced the implementation of concessions for affected visa holders: Workers whose hours were reduced, or who took unpaid leave due to COVID-19 during the concession period, can still count this period towards the 3-year full time requirement (or 2 years if grandfathering provisions apply).
The concession period is taken to have started from 1 February 2020, and currently has no end date. Consequently, transitional arrangements will apply to TRT applications:
made on or after 1 February 2020 and before 24 November 2020 and not finally decided, or
applications made on or after 24 November 2020.
To sum up: Your TRT application WILL NOT be impacted by having worked insufficient hours or being on unpaid leave during the concession period.
Higher income threshold and age exemptions
Subclass 457 or Subclass 482 visa holders who were exempt from age requirements on the basis of earning at the high income threshold (currently $153,600) will continue to be eligible for the age exemption, despite their earnings being affected by reduced hours or salaries due to COVID-19. A pro-rata income threshold may be applied instead.
The Department has provided a formula for how the pro-rata income threshold is calculated. Basically, any worker affected by COVID-19 can apply the pro-rata income threshold instead of the high income threshold for the period when their earnings were impacted.
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