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New permanent residence visa opportunity for Hong Kong graduates

The Australian Government has introduced two new permanent residence visa streams for Hong Kong and British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders. These new streams provide a simpler pathway from temporary to permanent residency in Australia.

The new visa streams are great news for eligible graduates living in South Australia. Hong Kong and BNO graduates living continuously in South Australia for at least three years can apply one-year earlier than those living in non-regional areas like Sydney or Melbourne.


Who can apply for the new visa stream?

Applicants must hold a Hong Kong or BNO passport and meet the specific eligibility criteria for their stream.

Eligible students and graduates living in South Australia might be able to apply for the Subclass 191 – Hong Kong (regional) stream after only three years of temporary residency.

Eligibility: Subclass 189 – the Hong Kong stream

This stream is for primary visa holders who have lived continuously in Australia for at least four years immediately before applying.

To be eligible for this visa stream, you must have held one of these visas for at least four years:

  • a Subclass 457 visa
  • a Subclass 482 visa
  • a Subclass 485 visa (temporary graduate visa)

Subclass 191 – the Hong Kong (regional) stream

This stream is for primary visa holders who have lived continuously in a designated regional area* of Australia for at least three years immediately before applying.

To be eligible for this visa stream, you must have held one of these visas for at least three years:

  • a Subclass 457 visa
  • a Subclass 482 visa
  • a Subclass 485 visa (temporary graduate visa)

*South Australia is classed as a designated regional area of Australia.


What’s different about these visa streams?

Unlike many other pathways to permanent residency, these new Hong Kong streams don’t have minimum requirements for:

  • English language proficiency
  • Skills assessments
  • EOI points
  • Income thresholds

There is also a broader definition of ‘Member for the Family Unit’ and some opportunities for health waivers.

You can read more about these visa streams in the new legislation.

The Home Affairs website will soon have detailed information on applying for a permanent visa via these streams. Please check the website regularly to keep up to date.


How will the new streams benefit graduates who studied in South Australia?

The Subclass 191 visa stream is particularly good news for those living in South Australia under a 5-year Subclass 485 Temporary Graduate visa. They can apply for permanent residency after only three years, one year earlier than those living or working in other cities like Sydney or Melbourne.

This means South Australian graduates have the substantial advantage of being able to apply for permanent residency from the same place where they spent their study years building strong career networks and work experience. Unlike students who study in non-regional parts of Australia, South Australian graduates won’t have to relocate to be eligible to apply after only three years.


How does an Adelaide education prepare Hong Kong students for career success in Australia?

All Adelaide universities and educational institutions offer world-class courses with a strong focus on developing career-ready graduates through quality education underpinned by the Australian Qualifications Framework.

Adelaide is a vibrant, welcoming, and friendly city, designated a ‘regional destination’ for Australian visa purposes. With affordable living costs, a clean, safe environment, and a focus on preparing graduates for real careers, Adelaide is a popular study abroad choice for students from Hong Kong.

Adelaide’s three public universities are ranked within the top 2% globally and have produced numerous Nobel Laureates and Rhodes Scholars. Adelaide is also home to the campuses of the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University and Torrens University. And several specialist higher education and vocational education and training (VET) institutions.

Popular courses for Hong Kong students studying in Adelaide include:

  • Aviation
  • Business
  • Engineering
  • Health 

Students studying in South Australia have access to many career resources, industry networks, and professional mentoring opportunities. They graduate with established connections and the right experience to help them build a successful graduate career pathway within South Australia.

Learn more about what it’s like to study in Adelaide for students from Hong Kong (Traditional Chinese)


When can eligible people apply for these new permanent residency visa streams?

Applications for these new pathways to permanent residence open on 5 March 2022. Because we don’t know how long these streams will be open, graduates should apply as soon as they are eligible.


Data and policies are accurate as of 23 November 2021.

Consulting: Wendy GUAN (MARN 1685761)

Editor: Johanna Kohler

The information contained in this article is general in nature only and does not constitute personal advice.  The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, situation or needs.  StudyAdelaide does not guarantee the accuracy of the information including information provided by third parties.  Individuals must not rely on the information on this website to make decisions. Check the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs website for the most detailed and up-to-date information. The specific visa options and benefits available to you will depend on your individual circumstances.  Read the StudyAdelaide Disclaimer.

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