Ending the COVID-19 Concession Period

The COVID-19 concession period ends on November 25, 2023. Since the beginning of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to restrictions on international travel and the deterioration of business and employment conditions. The former government took temporary measures related to the initial concession period. This was intended to provide relief to applicants of certain visa subclasses who are affected by travel restrictions which made it more difficult for them to comply with visa requirements. This included the applicant’s location at the time of application.


The grace period or the concession period is no longer relevant as all international travel restrictions due to COVID-19 have been lifted. Travelers to Australia no longer need to:


  • provide information about their vaccination status, or
  • seek exemption from travel.


Ending the concession period will contribute to a well-managed migration system. This will restore integrity by ensuring that unintended cohorts do not gain access to concessions. Affected visa programs that use the initial grace period are as below:

Employer sponsored visas


From 25 November 2023, new nominations for subsequent visa streams will require Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) holders to have worked for a sponsoring employer or to have worked for medical practitioners and certain managers for 2 of the previous 3 years.


  • Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS)
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS)
  • Transition to Temporary Residence (TRT) flow.

The following benefits related to COVID-19 will become unnecessary and end:


  • Periods of reduced work due to COVID-19 will not count towards the work experience requirements for new applications for nomination to the ENS/RSMS TRT stream.
  • The COVID-19 age exemption for high-income applicants will not apply to new ENS/RSMS visa applications.

The age exemption for older 457 workers in Australia for 12 months during the pandemic from 1 February 2020 to 14 December 2021 will apply to ENS visa applications submitted by 1 July 2024.

Subclass 887 Skilled Regional Visa


The temporary concessions available to holders of eligible skilled visas to apply for a subclass 887 visa are set to approximate the period of the COVID-19 concession period.


The concessions allowed eligible subclass 887 visa applicants to settle in or outside Australia during the concession period and gain access to shorter work periods and regional residence requirements.


Applicants can only access the Employment Requirement Benefit if they:


  • held an appropriate skilled temporary visa during the concession period and
  • submit a valid application within 3 months from Monday 26 February 2024.


The end of the grace period ends any other benefits for the subclass 887 visa.


After 25 November 2023, temporary skilled visa holders who are eligible for a subclass 887 visa must be in Australia but not in immigration clearance when they apply.


Family visas


Concessions related to COVID-19 removed restrictions on “location at the time of visa issuance for certain family program visa applicants.”


Applicants for certain Partner and Child visas who applied before 26 November 2023 and were in Australia at any time during the concession period will still be eligible for a visa in Australia (if they meet all other visa criteria) after the end of the concession period. Concession arrangements for COVID-19 will not apply to partner applicants and children who have not been in Australia at any time during the COVID-19 grace period.


The COVID-19 benefits for some Parent visa applicants only apply during the COVID-19 benefits period from February 1, 2020 to 25 November 2023.

Business innovation and investment program visas


The COVID-19 concessions have been implemented for the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) under:


  • the provisional subclass 188 visa is the business innovation stream
  • permanent subclass 888 visa in all streams.


BIIP applicants who are eligible for the benefits due to COVID-19 to submit a valid application can do so within 3 months after the end of the benefits period. Applications must be submitted by the end of Monday, February 26, 2024.

Safe Haven Corporate Visa


The end of the COVID-19 waiver will have minimal impact on the Safe Haven Enterprise visa program. The Australian Government has granted a permanent visa to Safe Haven Enterprise visa holders through the Resolution of Status (Subclass 851) (RoS) visa.

Temporary graduate student visa


From 25 November 2023, all applications for any stream of the Temporary Postgraduate Visa (TGV) program must be submitted in Australia. Applications for the following entrants may be submitted within or outside of Australia. The ability to process applications from applicants who are in or outside Australia (but not on immigration leave) will continue.

How can Trenity Consultants assist you?


As the leading immigration consultancy in Australia, we offer you a comprehensive range of services to assist you with the overwhelming immigration process. Right from initial consultation to post-arrival support and therefore, we are here to help you.


We use our extensive global network to give you insights about various immigration systems. Be it for Australia, Canada or any other country, we are there for you. Visit our website to know more.

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