The Department of Home Affairs has today advised the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO) that current or former Ukrainian holders of a subclass 449 or subclass 786 visa can consider applying for another visa to stay in the country, where they can demonstrate they are contributing to the Australian economy or society, or that the visa they are proposing to apply for will ensure that family unity can be maintained where Australian citizens are involved.
Previously, Ukrainians holding a 449 or 786 visa could only remain in Australia for three years and had no option of staying longer. They could not return to Ukraine without forfeiting their visa, and were prevented under section 91K of the relevant Act from lodging any further visa applications while they remained in Australia.
Ms Kateryna Argyrou, AFUO Co-Chair said today “Finally we have some certainty for those Ukrainians who fled to Australia after the full-scale Russian invasion, seeking safety and security for their children and families.”
“While these Ukrainians were grateful they had a safe place to stay, and for the opportunities offered in Australia, there was too much uncertainty about what might happen after three years.”
“Could they make plans to stay in Australia? Would their family have an opportunity to join them? Could they travel back to Ukraine to visit their husbands, sons and brothers, who had stayed behind to defend Ukraine, or to visit elderly parents?” she added.
“The Department’s announcement today will be a relief for these people. Their options for a future in Australia have become clearer,” said Ms Argyrou.
“We also hope that one day soon they will be able to consider returning back to a free Ukraine, with Russian forces expelled from the country. We hope the international community steps up and provides Ukraine with the military equipment it needs to end the suffering and violence, and allow people to safely come back home and be reunited with their families, ” she added.
The Department has advised those who intend to apply for another visa and want to request an application bar lift should contact the relevant visa processing area of the Department via Online forms (homeaffairs.gov.au) on the Department’s website.
For those who are eligible to apply, the visa processing area will send a bar lift notification notifying that they have seven days to lodge a valid visa application. Given the short timeframe, if they are eligible to apply, they need to ensure they have any application forms and supporting documentation ready to be lodged with a valid visa application.
If personal details such as address or contact details have changed, people are advised to follow the guidance on the Department’s website. Visit: Your personal details have changed (homeaffairs.gov.au)