Australian Government creates new Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408) category for COVID 19 Pandemic

To assist Temporary Visa holders (including Work & Holiday 417 & 462) that are currently unable to return to their home countries, the Australian Government has introduced a number of new measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Temporary Visa holders:

  •  Employed in Critical Sectors (including but not limited to agriculture, health, aged and disability care and childcare) will now be exempt from the six month work limitation with one employer.
  • Employed in Critical Sectors who haven’t completed the 3 or 6 months of specified work required to apply for a second or third Working Holiday Maker visa, can now apply apply for a COVID-19 pandemic Temporary Activity Visa (subclass 408)  visa. This will allow Temporary Visa holders to remain lawfully in Australia, and continue working, should they wish to do so, until it is safe and practicable for you to return to their home country.
  • Currently in Australia that are unable to return to their home country can now apply apply for a COVID-19 pandemic Temporary Activity Visa (subclass 408)  visa.

Seasonal Worker Program participants with a visa expiring, will also be able to extend their stay in Australia by applying for a COVID-19 pandemic Temporary Activity Visa (subclass 408)

The purpose of the new 408 Visa category is to provide a pathway for eligible Temporary Visa Holders to lawfully remain in Australia who would normally be required to leave the country, but due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, are unable to depart Australia.

Your Eligibility for the new Subclass 408 -COVID 19 Pandemic Visa

To be eligible to apply for the Subclass 408 -COVID 19 Pandemic Visa you will need to:

  • Meet the usual eligibility criteria for a 408 Visa application (financial support & health insurance): and
  • Be in Australia: and
  • Hold a visa that is 28 days or less from ceasing to be in effect or have held a visa that is no more than 28 days from ceasing to be in effect; and
  • Demonstrate that you are unable to apply for the same temporary visa that you hold or held or any other subclass of temporary visa other than the Subclass 408 visa; and
  • Be part of a response to workforce shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to areas including, but not limited to, agriculture, health, aged and disability care and childcare or demonstrate that you are unable to return to their home country.

These new measures are aimed to allow holders of temporary visas who are engaged in or have the relevant skills to undertake critical work relating to supply of essential goods and services to assist in critical areas and remain in Australia until it is safe and

Your eligibility if you are in Australia on a work & holiday visa but not working  in critical sector for COVID-19

Your Working Holiday Maker visas cannot be extended.  If you have completed three or six months of eligible of work in Australia, you may be able to apply for a second or third Working Holiday Maker visa.

If you have not completed the three or six months of specified work required to apply for a second, or third Working Holiday visa because of COVID-19  and you are not working in a critical sector, you should apply for another visa to remain lawful until you’re able to return to your home country.

If you have no other visa options and are unable to depart Australia due to COVID-19 travel restrictions you may be able to apply for  a COVID-19 pandemic Temporary Activity Visa (subclass 408).  To be granted a new 408 visa, you must meet the requirements for that visa, including any age limits, English language, health and character requirements.

Register with your embassy

To ensure that you are able to obtain information about any consular support that your country of origin is offering its citizens.  We recommend that you register your details with your embassy.  Most embassies – consular services allow you to do this on their website.

If your current visa is about to expire contact a migration agent immediately

If your current visa has expired it is critical that you immediately take the necessary steps to legalise your visa status while you, finalise immigration matters or wait for an immigration decision.

If you have an Australian visa that is about to expire, we recommend that you get in contact with our office to speak to one of our migration agents to discuss your options.  Our team is still working at full capacity and remain available to assist you however possible.

Stay informed

To keep yourself informed of any updates to travel restrictions we recommend that you monitor the Department of Home Affairs website and the websites of your countries governments.  To stay informed of any updates on current australian public health policies and restrictions refer to the website of the Australian Government Department of Health 

Stay Safe.