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COVID-19 Concessions for Subclasses 188, 888



In response to the travel restrictions due to COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a significant impact on Subclass 188 visa holders, the Australian Government has modified the eligibility requirement to allow them to apply for Subclass 888 or Subclass 188 extension visas during a certain period.

Please see a summary of the changes below:

COVID-19 concession period

The concession period commences on 1 February 2020 (as the date on which the Australian Government first int


roduced travel restrictions in relation to COVID-19) and ends on a date specified by the Minister in a legislative instrument. Given the ongoing health situation and associated uncertainty, an end date has not been specified in the COVID-19 Concessions Regulations.

Subclass 188C (Significant Investor stream) visa holders

  • If your visa ceased during a concession period, you can still lodge a Subclass 888 visa application within no more than 3 months after the end of the concession period

  • If your visa was granted before 1 July 2019 and withdraw or cancel your balancing investment component during a concession period, you are still eligible for Subclass 888 as long as you maintain the investment component in venture capital and emerging companies during a concession period

  • If your was granted a Subclass extension visa before 1 July 2019 and you withdraw or cancel your balancing investment component during a concession period, you are eligible for Subclass 888 as long as you maintain the investment component in venture capital and emerging companies during a concession period

  • If you are unable to meet the Australian residency requirements for a Subclass 888 visa (i.e. accumulatively 160 days in 4 years for primary visa holders) as a result of COVID-19 travel restrictions, you are still able to apply for and be granted the visa if other requirements are met

Subclass 188A (Business Innovation stream) visa holders

  • If your visa was granted before 1 July 2019 and ceased during a concession period, you are eligible for Subclass 188A extension visa if it is to be lodged within no more than 3 months after the end of the concession period

  • You are allowed to apply for up to 2 Subclass 188 extension visas, that is, you can further extend your Subclass 188A visa twice, for another four years

Subclass 188B (Investor stream) visa holders

  • If your visa was granted before 1 July 2019 and you withdraw or cancel your investments during a concession period, you are still eligible for Subclass 888 as long as you meet the residency requirement, i.e. living in Australia for at least 2 years in 4 years

These changes apply to all applications lodged on or after 19 September 2020.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact us.

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