As promised in our last newsletter, today we will discuss about the conditions imposed on the state/territory sponsored 489 (and old 487) temporary residency visas.
Conditions 8539 & 8549
Different from the 190 visa, a 489/487/475 visa does have conditions attached specifying where the visa holder must live, work and study. Generally speaking, if your 489/487 visa is granted due to state/territory nomination, condition 8539 must be imposed. If your 489/487 visa is granted due to relative sponsorship, condition 8549 must be imposed.
A person whose visa is subject to condition 8539 is obligated to live, work and study only in an area specified as a regional or low-population growth metropolitan area of Australia. A current list of postcodes for these areas can be found here.
A person whose visa is subject to condition 8549 is obliged to live, work and study only in an area specified as a designated area of Australia. A current list of postcodes for these areas can be found here.
PAM'S specifically mentions about the issue of visa holders who wish to study in areas that do not relate to their visa conditions.
"Waiver of study condition
When considering education options for tertiary and some secondary student family members consideration may be given to circumstances where it is reasonable to waive the 'study' component because of limited tertiary education options, or specialised learning needs that cannot be met in the designated area. Circumstances may include, but are not limited to, when a secondary visa holder:
* is a dependent child and wants to undertake tertiary courses that are not offered in a specified regional area
* is a dependent child and has an existing learning impairment or health condition for which the only appropriate educational support is available in a non-specified regional area
* is a spouse, partner or dependent child and has received an educational scholarship or is continuing an existing educational scholarship to study at an institution in a non-specified regional area.
Visa holders enrolled in primary or secondary school must comply with the condition that they study only in a specified regional area unless a circumstance (such as one above) prevents them from doing so."
Do I have to live where I was sponsored?
489/487 visa holders often ask us whether or not they must live in the regional area where they were sponsored. The answer is no.
Condition 8539 and 8549 only requires the visa holder to live in A regional or designated area as specified in the relevant legislative instruments, but not THE regional or designated area where you obtained the nomination or where your sponsor lives. Simply, you are free to move to any regional area or any designated area as long as the postcode relates to one of these appropriate lists.
Similarly, to satisfy the ' 2 years residence and 1 year full-time work in a specified regional area' criteria for an 887 Skilled - Regional Permanent visa, a 489/487/475 visa holder can live and work in multiple regional or designated areas for an accumulated period of time that meets the 887 visa requirement. We will discuss again later the requirements of the 887 visa.
Time to settle
Although not specified in legislations, it is the Immigration Department's policy that persons granted a 489/487 visa who are in Australia and have not been living in a specified regional area, are expected to make appropriate arrangements to relocate to a specified regional area in two to three months.
For those who are granted a 489/487 visa outside of Australia, they are expected to make arrangements to establish living arrangements in a specified area within a month of arrival as they are considered to have more opportunity to make arrangements between being granted their visa and arriving in Australia.
Possibility of cancellation
Because of the imposed condition 8539/8549, if 489/487/475 visa holders fail to settle in a specified area within a reasonable period of time from visa grant, their 489/487 visas may be subject to cancellation under the general cancellation power, section 116, on the ground of non-compliance with visa condition.
This is a major difference from what we discussed in the last newsletter about 190 visa. Therefore it is advisable for new 489 visa holders to arrange their settlement in a regional or designated area as soon as they are granted a 489 visa. To obtain a 887 visa, it is also a must to meet the regional residence and work requirement.
For those people who may continue to work or reside in a non-regional area such as Sydney after the grace period to move has expired, it is more than likely the DIBP will cancel your visa if they find out.
It would only take a simple site visit by DIBP officers to your work place, or being pulled over by the police for a traffic offence to discover that you are in breach of your visa condition.
The DIBP and the ATO also share information. Any PAYG Group Certificates may indicate that you have worked in an area, which is not listed as regional or designated.