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Australia lifts section 48 bar for three skilled migration visas

The Department of Home Affairs has lifted the section 48 bar for subclass 491, 494 or 190 onshore applicants Source: Getty Images

Onshore visa applicants subject for S48 bar and affected by COVID-travel restrictions can now lodge applications for subclass 491, 494 or 190

Skilled migrants in Australia are now given the opportunity to apply onshore for a subclass 190, 491 or 494 skilled migration visa even if they are affected by section 48 of the Migration Act.



  • Section 48 bar applies to applicants who have had a visa refused or cancelled since their last entry into Australia
  • The changes to the legislation will officially commence on 13 November 2021
  • The federal government has amended its migration law to allow applications for the following skilled visa subclasses:

Subclass 491 - Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa
Subclass 494 - Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa
Subclass 190 - Skilled Nominated visa

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Mga apektado ng Section 48 bar ng Migration Act sa Australia, pinayagan nang mag-apply ng skilled visa
00:00 00:00

Prior to the amendment, those who have been able to secure an invite for the state nomination and some prospective visa applicants are finding it difficult to leave Australia due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Australia lifted S48 bar for onshore skilled visa applicants
Adrian Ong

Adrian Ong is a physiotherapist from Sale, Victoria, and is currently on a bridging visa. He applied for a working visa subclass 482 (Temporary Skilled Shortage) last year after his training visa expired.,However, the application was refused when his employer failed to meet the Labor Market Testing requirement.

He wanted to apply for a Subclass 190 visa but couldn’t do it because under the S48 provision,  he has to go offshore to lodge the visa, and if he does, he won’t be able to return until he gets a travel exemption.

“I’m very happy and very relieved about these changes in the immigration law. This is the only thing I need to be able to stay in my job and apply for permanent residency,” Mr Ong told SBS Filipino.

What is Section 48 bar?

Melbourne-based registered migration agent, Em Tanag explains that Section 48 of the Migration Act prevents people who have had a visa refused or cancelled, and currently hold a bridging visa,  from applying for another visa of most types while still in Australia.

"They can only apply for Partner visa, Protection visa, Medical Treatment visa, Territorial Asylum, border, special category, Bridging visas from A to R, Resolution of status, Child visa, Retirement Temporary visa and Investor Retirement visa

Typically, refused applicants would have simply left Australia and applied for a different visa, but the travel restrictions because of COVID-19 have made such trips difficult.

They must also wait for the results of their new application outside Australia except those who exited to New Zealand with the Trans-Tasman travel bubble," says ms Tanag.

The Department of Home Affairs has announced the amendment of the legislation that will officially commence on 13 November 2021.

In an explanatory statement from the Federal Government, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alex Hawke stated, "this amendment facilitates applications in Australia by applicants who are prevented from leaving due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions but meet all other requirements for making an application for the visa."


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