Australians that had organised a visa to live and work in the UK but had the dream cut short by the coronavirus outbreak have been given a reprieve.
Australians that had organised a visa to live and work in the UK but had the dream cut short by the coronavirus outbreak have been given a reprieve.

New visa change for Aussies in the UK

Australians wanting to work in London have been thrown a coronavirus lifeline, with a new deal to extend visas.

The UK government will allow Australians who had already signed up for a Tier 5 visa, allocated for people in their 20s, to delay their arrival for up to a year.

The deal, which was brokered following lobbying from the Australian High Commission in London, means that Australians' UK dreams will not be cut short.

Travel bans on people leaving Australia meant many of those who had already signed up for a visa feared their two-year stay in the UK would be crimped.

Under the deal, a person who had a visa due to start in May 2020, could delay its start date until May 2021 without penalty.

The two-year clock would start once they had arrived and picked up their British residency permit.

London here we come. Australians who had already signed up for a Tier 5 visa before the COVID-19 outbreak can now delay their arrival for up to a year.
London here we come. Australians who had already signed up for a Tier 5 visa before the COVID-19 outbreak can now delay their arrival for up to a year.

George Brandis, Australia's High Commissioner to the UK, said the deferral would make a difference to people's travel plans.

"It's a great rite of passage for young Australians to live and work in the UK and enjoy its wonderful lifestyle and institutions," he said.

"That's why we are very pleased the UK Government are allowing a deferral of 30-day entry windows for Tier 5 visa holders in light of the COVID-19 situation.

"It speaks to the warmth of feeling between our two countries."

More than 45,000 Australians receive a Tier 5 working holiday visa each year.

Australia and the UK have become closer under Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

A new free trade deal was among the first four that the UK will sign once Brexit has been finalised, with negotiations with the European Union still ongoing.

Any trade deal may include more flexibility for young Australians moving to the UK, with plans under consideration to allow them to split up their time in London.

George Brandis, High Commissioner to the UK, says the new visa deal “speaks to the warmth of feeling between our two countries.” Picture: AAP
George Brandis, High Commissioner to the UK, says the new visa deal “speaks to the warmth of feeling between our two countries.” Picture: AAP

A young worker would be able to spend a year in the UK, return to Australia and then come back at a later stage to use up the final year of their two-year allocation.

Under current rules the two-year visa can only be used once, and any unused time was lost.

Thousands of Australians fled the UK when the coronavirus hit, with London being the epicentre of the outbreak with more than 5000 deaths.

More than two million Brits have applied for unemployment benefits as the hospitality industry remains shut under lockdown restrictions.

However, Australians were still likely to be in demand in the UK, particularly those with nursing or medical backgrounds.

To apply for a delay, Australian with a Tier 5 visa must email CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk, with the subject line REPLACEMENT 30 DAY VISA.

The email must include their name, nationality, date of birth and GWF reference number.

stephen.drill@news.co.uk

Originally published as New visa change for Aussies in the UK

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