Australia’s enhanced priority visa support for Ukraine

Travel to Australia

On 23 February 2022, the Morrison Government announced initial measures .These include an automatic six-month extension for Ukrainian passport holders in Australia with an upcoming visa expiration of 30 June 2022 or prior, and priority decision-making for visa applications lodged by Ukrainian nationals.

The Department of Home Affairs has granted over 5,000, mostly temporary visas to Ukrainians in Ukraine and hundreds more to Ukrainians elsewhere. As at 19 March 2022, more than 800 of these visa holders have since arrived in Australia, with more arriving daily.

In Australia

To date, the Australian Government’s focus has been on facilitating the entry and temporary stay of Ukrainian nationals fleeing the War.

On 20 March 2022, the Australian Government announced the temporary humanitarian (subclass 786) visa to Ukrainians currently in Australia and those arriving in the coming months.

The subclass 786 visa will be valid for three years and allow people to work, study and access Medicare.

The Commonwealth and Department of Home Affairs officials will continue to work closely with the Ukrainian–Australian community and Humanitarian Settlement Program providers to ensure those arriving from Ukraine are provided with:

  • Assistance in obtaining long-term accommodation
  • Support with Medicare access
  • Enrolment support for children in school and other social support services.

This builds upon the grant of $450,000 provided to the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations and their state-based counterparts to support community groups in the ongoing work of helping recent arrivals in Australia.

Applying for a visa

Visa applications can be made by close family members, on behalf of their Ukrainian family members. Further detail on who can assist with a visa application can be viewed on the Department’s website.

Ukrainian nationals who currently do not hold a valid passport are urged to seek advice from one of the following:

  • The Ukraine State Migration Service
  • Their nearest Ukraine Embassy
  • Consulate in a neighbouring country.

If current circumstances do not permit, a visa application can also be submitted without a valid passport, by providing all available identity documentation with the application, where a Departmental officer will be in contact to discuss the application.

As outlined by the Department, “the Commonwealth Coordinator-General for Migrant Services and Department of Home Affairs officials will continue working closely with the Ukrainian-Australian community and settlement service providers across the country to ensure those arriving from Ukraine are provided support throughout their stay in Australia.”

Immigration medical assessments are only necessary if requested by a Departmental officer. If applicants are asked to do so, the assessments must be completed by a registered panel doctor.

The Australian Government also acknowledges children may need to cross international borders with only one parent. Australia’s commitment to ensuring welfare to all children allows this to occur, with the permission of both parents. Those who cannot provide this consent are asked to apply with available documentation.

BDO Migration Services comment

As the crisis in Ukraine continues to rapidly change, we recommend reading the Department’s website and seeking advice as necessary.

Please contact Maria Jockel, Global and National Immigration Leader, Legal Principal and Accredited Specialist in Immigration Law; or Rebecca Thomson, Principal Lawyer, BDO Migration Services, with any enquiries.

Disclaimer: This information is provided as a guide only and it has been written in general terms and should be seen as a broad guidance only. This information cannot be relied upon to cover specific situations and you should not act, or refrain from acting, upon the information without obtaining specific professional advice. ©January 2022 BDO Migration Services. All rights reserved.