In 2020, the Government fast-tracked legislation to respond immigration issues arising from the COVID-19 outbreak. This legislation provided additional powers to the Minister of Immigration for 12 months. These temporary COVID-19 immigration powers have now been extended to 2023.
The 2021 Immigration (COVID-19 Response) Amendment Act has a few differences to the 2020 Immigration (COVID-19 response) Amendment Act.
- The powers are in place until 15 May 2023.
- Offshore temporary visa applications can be suspended for six months, up from three months currently.
- This bill progressed through Select Committee.
This extension is aimed provide continued flexibility to support migrants and industries, and help to manage border restrictions. However, we must add that it also means that the Government gave itself more time to make decisions in a setting where visa delays have been unprecedented.