Migration (Ending the COVID-19 Concession Period) (LIN 23/063) Specification 2023

Migration (Ending the COVID-19 Concession Period) (LIN23/063) Specification 2023

The instrument, departmental reference LIN23/063, is made under subregulation 1.15N(2) of the Migration Regulations 1994 (the Regulations), for the purposes of paragraph 1.15N(1)(b) of the Regulations.

The instrument commences on the day after it is registered on the Federal Register of Legislation. The instrument is a legislative instrument for the purposes of the Legislation Act 2003 (the Legislation Act). 

Purpose

Regulation 1.15N in Part 1 of the Regulations sets out the meaning of ‘concession period’ for the purposes of the Regulations. Regulation 1.15N was inserted in the Regulations on 19 September 2020 as part of Australia’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

 Regulation 1.15N makes provision for both an ‘initial concession period’, and also for later concession periods for the purposes of specified provisions of the Regulations. Subregulations 1.15N(1) and (2) provide for the initial concession period, which is a period that commenced on 1 February 2020 and which ends on a day specified by the Minister by legislative instrument under subregulation 1.15N(2).

The purpose of this instrument is to specify 25 November 2023, for the purposes of paragraph 1.15N(1)(b), as the day on which the concession period ends. In accordance with table item 4 in subsection 36(1) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901, the concession period includes 25 November 2023, and ends at the end of that day.

On commencement of this instrument, any reference to a ‘concession period’ in the Migration Regulations is therefore a reference to a period commencing on 1 February 2020 and ending on 25 November 2023.

Regulation 1.15N was inserted by the Migration Amendment (COVID-19 Concessions) Regulations 2020 (the COVID-19 Concessions Regulations) on 19 September 2020. The COVID-19 Concessions Regulations amended the Migration Regulations to assist certain temporary and provisional visa holders, including individuals on a pathway to permanent residence, who were disadvantaged by the consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic, such as border closures, restrictions imposed on businesses and the general economic downturn.

In particular, travel restrictions associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic made it difficult for visa applicants to satisfy some of the criteria and requirements for the grant of certain visas, including requirements in relation to where the applicant must be located at the time of visa grant.

All COVID-19 Pandemic-related international travel restrictions have now been lifted, and travellers to Australia no longer need to provide information in relation to their vaccination status or seek travel exemptions. It is therefore appropriate to end the concession period.

The concessions provided in the Migration Regulations are not being repealed at this time, as there remains a legacy cohort for whom the concessions still apply, for example, applicants who applied for a visa during the concession period but who have not yet had a visa decision. The concession provisions remain in effect for this legacy cohort.

 Subregulation 1.15N(3) allows the Minister to determine, by legislative instrument, a later period as a concession period for the purposes of a specified provision of the Regulations in which the expression ‘concession period’ is used; however, no later concession periods have been determined under subregulation 1.15N(3).

Written by Ross Ahmadzai

27 Nov, 2023

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