With travel bans across the world making it difficult for Temporary Visa holders to return home, applying for the new Subclass 408 Visa (COVID-19 Pandemic Event Stream) can provide a last resort to lawfully stay in Australia, or to work in critical sectors during the crisis.
Here’s what you need to know about who can apply and what the visa process involves.
Who can apply for the Subclass 408 COVID-19 Pandemic Event Visa?
The visa may be available to people who are:
- In Australia;
- Are unable to depart Australia due to COVID-19;
- Have 28 days or less remaining on their current visa or where their last temporary visa has expired less than 28 days ago;
- Are not eligible for any other visa based on their intended activities or;
- Have evidence from their employer that they have ongoing work in a critical sector and that an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident cannot fill the position.
How do I know if I’m working in a critical sector?
Critical sectors may be updated by the Government from time to time during the COVID-19 period. Currently, the term ‘critical sectors’ refers to the agriculture, food processing, health care, aged care, disability care and childcare sectors.
Considering this, the new stream of the Subclass 408 Visa may be available to:
- Working Holiday Makers working in critical sectors who are unable to return to their home country;
- Seasonal Worker Programme Visa holders with visas due to expire within 28 days;
- Other Temporary Visa holders who are unable to return to their home country and their visas are about to expire, or those with no other visa options, and those who are working in critical sectors.
What if I do not work in a critical sector but have no other visa options to stay in Australia?
Temporary Visa holders, including Bridging Visa holders, that are not working in a critical sector can apply for the 408 COVID-19 pandemic visa if they have no other visa options available to them.
The exception is Bridging Visa holders who have a section 48 bar and/or who have not held a substantive temporary visa in the 28 days prior to their application. These visa holders will not be eligible to apply.
You should only apply for the visa if you are unable to depart Australia, your temporary visa expires in less than 28 days (or did not expire more than 28 days ago) and you have no other visa options available to you.
Applicants who do not work in a critical sector will not be granted permission to work in Australia under the Subclass 408 Visa.
How long can I stay in Australia on the Subclass 408 COVID-19 Pandemic Event Visa?
If you are employed in a critical sector, you may be granted a visa that allows you to stay for up to 12 months.
If you are not working in a critical sector, you may be granted a stay of up to six months so that you can remain lawful while you are unable to travel to your home country.
What does the application process for the Subclass 408 COVID-19 Pandemic Event Visa involve?
If you are applying for the visa for work in a critical sector, you will need to provide evidence of your ongoing employment, the nature of your critical work and evidence that an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident cannot fill the position.
If you are a Temporary Visa holder with no other visa options and you are unable to depart Australia, you will need to prepare a detailed statement of your circumstances and reasons why you cannot leave Australia or apply for another visa. You should submit as much evidence to support your application as possible.
There is no Government fee for this visa, however there may be health related costs. You and any family members that apply for this visa must meet health requirements, therefore you may be required to undergo a health check. You must also have health insurance during your stay in Australia. This means you may need to arrange health insurance if you do not already have it.
We are here to support you | Ask a migration agent
Our migration agents can assess your circumstances and advise if you are eligible to apply for the Subclass 408 Visa. We also advise on how you can prepare your evidence requirements and manage your visa application by liaising with Government and third-party authorities on your behalf.