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  • Writer's picturePratibha Sharma


Updated: Feb 26, 2021

Migration Amendment (COVID-19 Concessions) Regulations 2020 for subclass 887 applicants

The amendments reflect the provision made by the COVID-19 Concessions Regulations for persons who are outside Australia during COVID-19 travel restrictions to apply for the Subclass 887 visa from outside Australia.

The only active provisional visa is the Skilled-Regional Sponsored (Provisional) (Class SP) visa, which contains the Subclass 489 (Skilled-Regional (Provisional)) visa.

The provision for Subclass 887 visa applications by persons who have ceased to hold the relevant visa when all of the following circumstances apply

  • the visa applicant is outside Australia; and

  • the visa applicant held a relevant visa that ceased during a concession period; and

  • the visa applicant was outside Australia when the visa ceased; and

  • the visa application is made during a concession period.


Amendments for children of 489 visa holders born outside

Previously applicants were required to be in Australia to apply, and were required to hold one of the qualifying visas. A child born in Australia was taken to have been granted a visa of the same class as the parent or parents (section 78 of the Migration Act). There was no equivalent provision for children born outside Australia and, in any event, the parent’s visa may have expired before the child is born. Subparagraph 1136(7)(a)(viii) ensures that children born outside Australia are able to be included in the parent’s Subclass 887 visa application.

Amendments to Residence Criteria

This applies to applications for the Subclass 887 (Skilled-Regional) visa, to provide a concession to holders or former holders of specified provisional visas or related bridging visas who are outside Australia during a concession period.

Clause 887.212 previously required the primary applicant to have lived in a specified regional area for a total period of at least two years as the holder of one or more of the specified provisional visas or related bridging visas.

The effect of amendment under subclause 887.212(2) is that the visa applicant is taken (i.e., is deemed) to have lived in a specified regional area for six months, and therefore only needs to have actually lived in a specified regional area for 18 months, rather than two years.

In accordance with the subclause, this concession applies if:

  • the applicant was outside Australia during a concession period; and

  • the applicant applied for the Subclass 887 visa outside Australia during the concession period; and

  • the applicant holds a specified provisional visa or related bridging visa, or

  • was the holder of one of those visas that expired during the concession period

The Minister may, by legislative instrument, specify a longer period than the six months provided under subclause 887.212(2).

The six-month reduction in the residence requirement is intended to provide a reasonable level of assistance to those 887 applicants who

  • have been unable to return to Australia because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, while at the same time maintaining the integrity of a key criterion for the Subclass 887 visa, which is the requirement for applicants to have lived in a specified regional area of Australia for a substantial period.

  • In particular, the concession assists those applicants who were almost qualified to apply for a Subclass 887 visa when travel restrictions came into effect.

  • The concession should be adequate to address the needs of potential Subclass 887 applicants who are outside Australia at the commencement of these amendments.

  • The option of extending the concession by legislative instrument provides flexibility if travel restrictions continue for an extended period.


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