Visas for Hong Kong nationals from March 2022

By Melissa Coade

Wednesday November 3, 2021

Alex Hawke
Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

The federal government has unveiled an immigration pathway for about 8,800 Hong Kong nationals to obtain permanent residence status in Australia, with two new visa streams opening next year. 

Holders of a Hong Kong and British National (Overseas) (BNO) passport, and who have lived in Australia for at least four years, will be able to apply for Australia’s subclass 191 and subclass 189 visa streams from 5 March 2022.

Last year prime minister Scott Morrison promised safe haven in Australia would be available to nationals who were already living in the country, as Beijing authorities initiated a series of violent crackdowns in response to anti-democracy protests.

In a statement on Monday, immigration, citizenship, migrant services and multicultural affairs minister Alex Hawke said that the permanent residence pathway for Hong Kong nationals was making good on Australia’s commitment in July 2021. 

“These dedicated and simpler visa streams for Hong Kong nationals will attract skills and talent and build business links, helping to boost productivity and create further job opportunities for Australians,” Hawke said. 

He added that for those Hong Kong graduates and temporary skilled workers who were currently in Australia (approximately 8,800 in total) and on an extended visa, would be given a pathway to permanent residency in Australia.

“[The visas] will build on the already close family connections and economic ties with Hong Kong that have existed for many years,” Hawke said.

Under the subclass 191 visa (regional stream), Hong Kong nationals who lived in Australia for a continuous period of at least three years (and who lived, worked and studied exclusively in a designated regional area for that period, while holding the qualifying visa) will be eligible to apply.

For the subclass 189 visa, Hong Kong nationals who lived in Australia for a continuous period of at least four years (while holding the qualifying visa) will be eligible to apply. 

More information about the special visa streams can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website.


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