In October 2020, the government announced its 2020-2021 Federal Budget. Among the measures, some concerned Working Holiday Visa Makers and especially visa refunds or waivers for those who could not enter Australia due to the inward Travel Ban and those who had to leave Australia because of the pandemic. Here are the measures announced so far.
Visa Refunds and Waivers
Following the release of the Federal Budget for 2020-2021, the government has clarified some points in October 2020 with regards to Refunds and Waivers. The government has decided to offer some solutions for those who could not enter Australia or had to cut short their stay because of the pandemic. Indeed, those measures concern working holiday visa makers, tourists, students, temporary skilled workers and temporary skilled workers.
Working holiday Visa Holders (417 & 462)
For those who had to leave the country earlier
Travellers on working holiday visas who had to leave Australia early due to the pandemic will be eligible for a waiver, or a refund depending on their situation. A waiver means that you will be able to apply for the same visa for free when you decide to return to Australia.
On the government website, it is noted that there is no maximum time that a former WHM visa holder must have spent in Australia before departure to be able to apply for a waiver or refund. Which seems to mean that even if you have spent 6 or 8 months in Australia, if you had to leave the country because of the pandemic, you will be able to apply for a new visa free of charge. However this does not apply for departures that occurred prior the beginning of the pandemic. You must have left the country because of Covid 19.
Therefore if you had to leave Australia early due to COVID-19 you will be eligible for a waiver, when you decide to return to Australia if you choose to, otherwise, you can get a refund. If you are not eligible to lodge a further application because you have passed the age limit for a WHM visa, you will be able to receive a refund instead.
It is important to note that the age limit has not been extended. So those who are unable to return because they have passed the age limit to apply for a WHV, they will be able to get a refund. For info you must be 18 to 30 years old (inclusive) to apply except for Canadian, French and Irish citizens up to 35 (inclusive).
For those who were not able to enter the country
WHV makers who were not able to enter Australia because of the closed borders will be able to lodge a new application free of charge. They will be able to have a new visa for free if they still under the age limit or will get a refund if they have passed it.
Refunds and waivers are available for current WHV holders who are not able to travel to Australia because of travel restrictions.
For those who have passed the relevant age limit, you won’t be able to apply for a new visa. However, you will be able to get a refund.
Visitors and students
For tourists that could not enter the country and whose visa expired, they will be eligible for a waiver. So for those whose visas expired or will expire between March 2020 and December 2021, they will be able to apply for a new visa for free.
- For students needing a further Student visa to complete their studies or to remain in Australia, they won’t have to pay for their next Student Visa.
Process for refunds and waivers
No procedures have been communicated to deal with Refunds or Waivers at the moment. We will update you as soon as any news comes to hand, so stay tuned !
For the waivers process, we believe you will have to tick a box in your new application. For refunds, we do not know for sure if the form 1424 can be used for the specific covid situation. If you are really desperate to get your money back, you can always complete and return the 1424 but we do not know if it will work.
New visa or refund must be applied for before end of 2022.
Apply for a 408 Visa
The 408 visa is still available for all WHVs, and temporary visas holders currently in Australia. This visa has no age restriction and allows you to work legally in Australia but only in critical sectors. The visa duration will depend on your situation and can be from 3 to 12 months. The 408 visa application must be made within 28 days before your current visa expires. The application is free.
Please note that you can apply for the 408 Covid Visa when you have no other visa option (meaning you cannot apply for a 2nd or 3rd year visa as you have not completed the specified work requirement).