There’re few visa holders and other people who’ve been affected due to the Covid-19 travel ban in Australia can apply for a Visa refunds and waivers of Visa Application Charges. If you’re seeking a Visa Application Charges (VAC) refund and want to know the eligibility for it then you can use the COVID-19 travel restrictions VAC refund request form.
Latest Updates in Prospective Marriage Visa (Subclass 300)
The Australian Government has made some changes in the Prospective Marriage Visa Subclass 300 and some other Australian Visas. The changes have been made to support the Prospective Marriage Visa holders, former visa holders and other visa applicants who can’t travel to Australia due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions.
The Government of Australia has extended the validity period for Prospective Marriage Visa or former prospective visa holders. This extension in the visa validity is for the holders of Prospective Marriage Visa or former visa holders who were outside Australia on the 10th of December 2020.
Moreover, the visa validity period has been extended for people who held the Prospective Marriage Visa between the 6th of October 2020 to 10th of December 2020. This visa validity has been extended to the 31st of March 2022.
However, the individual visa holders will be notified directly by the Department of Home Affairs.
Visa Application Charges (VAC) Refunds
The refund for Visa Application Charges (VAC) will be offered to people who’re unable to travel to Australia and have been impacted by the Covid-19 travel ban in Australia.
If you’re a Prospective Marriage Visa holder and your visa validity was extended on the 10th of December 2020 so you can request the VAC refund under some conditions. They include:
- If you haven’t visited Australia after the 10th of December 2020 as a Prospective Marriage Visa Holder.
- If your Prospective Marriage Visa has been ceased and you can’t travel to Australia before your visa was ceased while your visa validity hasn’t been extended on the 10th of December 2020 so you can get the refund of your Visa Application Charges (VAC).
- You can also apply for the VAC refund if your visa is in the process of activation while you’ve asked the Minister to cancel your visa.
The eligible people can apply for the VAC refund by the 31st of December 2022. However, the application for VAC can only be lodged by the person who’s mentioned as a Payer on the original receipt of the Visa Application Charges (VAC).
If your visa is still in the process of activation before the refund request so you can use your ImmiAccount and apply for the cancellation of your Prospective Marriage Visa Subclass 300.
Former Prospective Marriage Visa Holders
The payer of the VAC can apply for the VAC refund if your Prospective Marriage Visa was ceased between the 20th of March 2020 and the 5th of October 2020 while you were outside Australia.
Likewise, the payer of the Visa Application Charges (VAC) can also apply for the VAC refund if your visa was terminated between 20th of March 2020 and 5th of October 2020 and you couldn’t travel and marry your sponsor in Australia before the termination of your visa due to the Covid-19 travel ban and interstate restrictions.
Covid-19 Restrictions for Former Prospective Marriage Visa Holders
There’re some Covid-19-related restrictions imposed by the Australian Government for former prospective marriage visa holders in Australia. If you want to marry your sponsor in Australia so you have to follow these conditions.
- A limited number of guests will be invited to attend your proposed wedding
- Prevented guests or specific guests to attend your proposed wedding in Australia
- Prevented the proposed time or location preferred by you and your sponsor of the wedding.
Conditions for VAC Refunds for Subclass Visa 300 Holders
Here are a few conditions under which the refunds for VAC can’t be provided to the Former Prospective Marriage Visa holders. They’re as below.
- If the Minister has canceled your Prospective Marriage Visa so you can’t get the VAC refund unless you’ve requested to cancel your Prospective Marriage Visa.
- If you’ve applied for the Partner Visa Subclass 801 and paid lesser Visa Application Charges as you hold a Prospective Marriage Visa .
- At the time of your visa cancellation, you informed the Australian Government that you and your sponsor are not going to marry.
The process of the subsequent Partner Visa or Prospective Visa applications will be the priority for the former Prospective Marriage visa holders. However, the application processing time depends on whether it fulfills all requirements and meets the eligibility criteria.
Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Worker Program
The Pacific Labour Scheme or Seasonal Worker Program (Subclass 403) visa holders can be eligible for the VAC refund under few conditions. They include,
- If the visa was issued before the 20th March 2020.
- Visa holders couldn’t visit Australia on that visa for the first time before their visa arrival date
- The request for the visa refunds is submitted on 31st of December 2021 or before that
- Your visa was ceased before the decision on the refund application
- Your visa wasn’t canceled due to reasons other than the visa holder’s request.
You must apply for the VAC refund by 31st December 2021. Applicants can use the COVID-19 travel restrictions VAC refund request form to lodge their applications.
Temporary Skill Shortage or Temporary Work (Skilled) Visa Holders
If were outside Australia and had a Temporary Skill Shortage or Temporary Work Skilled Visa on or after 1 February 2020 which has been ceased so you can apply for the VAC waiver for a subsequent Temporary Skill Shortage subclass 482 visa application.
However, there’re some conditions under which you can apply for it. They’re,
- If you couldn’t enter Australia due to the Covid-19 travel ban before your visa ceased
- If you’ve visited Australia and left after the 1st of February 2020 however, you couldn’t travel back to Australia before your visa ceased due to the Covbid-19 travel restrictions.
Applicants should apply before the 31st of December 2022 and they must have a valid visa nomination.
Working Holiday Makers
You can apply online for an offshore nil VAC (no fee) Working Holiday Maker Visa (WHM) or request for the Visa Application Charges (VAC) refund under the following conditions.
- You’ve got a Covid-19 affected Working Holiday Maker Visa (WHM) before 20th March 2020
- Either if your WHM visa was expired on or after 20th March 2020 while you were outside Australia or your WHM visa is going to be expired on 31st of December 2021 while you’re outside Australia
- If you didn’t visit Australia on a WHM visa or if you’ve departed Australia before your WHM visa ceased
You can request an offshore nil VAC WHM visa from 1 July 2021 to 31 December 2022. You can request a VAC refund if you couldn’t fulfill the age requirements for a nil VAC WHM visa. Furthermore, you may be able to apply for the nil VAC WHM from March 2022 if you’re present in Australia.
Applicants of Visitor Visa Subclass 600 outside Australia whose former visitor visa has been expired or is going to be expired between 20 March 2020 and 31 December 2021 may receive a VAC waiver for their future Visitor Visa. Requests for a future Visitor Visa along with a VAC waiver can be submitted by 31 December 2022.
The Government of Australia has made some changes in Prospective Marriage Visa (Subclass 300), Visitor Visa (Subclass 600), Working Holiday Makers Visa, Pacific Labour Scheme or Seasonal Worker Program (Subclass 403) Visa and Temporary Skill Shortage or Temporary Work (Skilled) Visa for visa refunds and waivers of Visa Application Charges . These visa applicants and other people can request for the Visa Application Charge (VAC) who’ve been affected due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions in Australia.
You can consult with The Migration to get more updates about the Australian visas, Visa Application Charges (VAC) and the migration process in Australia.
I’m Nasir Nawaz. I’m a registered migration consultant in Australia. I am based in Sydney. I’ve studied Master of Laws at the University of New South Wales. I’m providing immigration services for several years.
Consult with me for legal advice on Australian visas to permanently live, study, and work in Australia.