Australian media SBS Chinese Channel said on August 5 that the Australian Ministry of the Interior confirmed to it that Hong Kong residents holding British National (Overseas) passports (ie BN(O)) have extended their graduate visas and temporary work visas to 5 years.
This means that the "safe haven" policy for Hong Kong people also covers BNO holders and is no longer limited to holders of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passports.
Australia has recently expanded the acceptance of BNO arrangements.
Australian media reported on July 30 that the Australian Immigration Commissioner, Alex Hawke, has decided to allow Hong Kong people to apply for an Australian temporary or permanent skilled migration visa. Holders of HKSAR passport and BNO.
The spokesperson recently confirmed to SBS Chinese that the "safe haven" policy for Hong Kong residents in 2020 will be extended from SAR passport holders to BN(O) holders.
The spokesperson stated that for BN(O) holders who already hold temporary skilled visas (category 482 and 457) or graduate visas (category 485) on July 9, 2020, their visas will be automatically extended for 5 years until July 8, 2025. day.
After that, those who have been approved for the above-mentioned visa can also stay in Australia for 5 years, and before the visa expires, they also have a way to apply for permanent residence.
The picture shows the British National (Overseas) passport (ie BN(O)).
(Photo/Photo by Luo Guohui)
Regulation amendments to accept BNO
After Hong Kong implemented the "Hong Kong National Security Act", Australia announced on July 9 a "safe harbor" policy to extend the graduates and temporary work visas of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport holders to 5 years, after which there will be ways to apply for permanent residence.
At that time, the Ministry of the Interior stated to SBS that it did not apply to Hong Kong residents who only held BNO.
In its written reply to SBS Chinese on August 24, the Ministry of the Interior stated that it is a "direct and objective method" to determine whether the person is granted an extension of a visa by holding a SAR passport.
But when SBS Chinese asked the Ministry of the Interior why there was such a change, the department said in reply to SBS Chinese this week that it was "a necessary amendment to the 1994 Immigration Regulations."
SBS Chinese reporters checked the 1994 Immigration Regulations mentioned by the Ministry of the Interior and found that when the Australian government announced the safe harbor policy in July 2020, the regulations did not define the “Hong Kong passport”, but it was August 20, 2020. In the revision of relevant Japanese regulations, it is stated that the "Hong Kong passport" is the "Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport of the People's Republic of China."
The legislative documents did not explain the reason for the addition of this definition.
In accordance with the "necessary amendments" that the Ministry of the Interior has made to the regulations, all Hong Kong people, regardless of whether they hold a SAR passport or BNO, as long as they meet the conditions, the "safe harbor" policy also applies to them.
The picture shows Australian Prime Minister Morrison speaking to the media in Sydney on April 19.
How to apply for permanent residence after 5 years?
A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Interior said on July 30 that the details of how people seek permanent residence after the five-year temporary visa expires are still being worked out.
Further news will be announced on the website of the Ministry of the Interior.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Home Affairs officials stated in early 2021 that Hong Kong residents can apply for an "existing technical permanent visa" after the five-year temporary visa expires. They do not need to meet the application requirements of others, just Meet the "adjusted eligibility criteria."
However, the authorities have not yet announced what is meant by "adjusted qualifications" and what type of skilled permanent visa he refers to.