John Young Immigration Agency

COVID-19: 408 visa to the rescue for temporary visa holders stuck in Australia

Temporary visa holders in Australia who cannot leave Australia as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and who are unable to make a valid application or meet the requirements for any other visa can now apply for a Subclass 408 – Temporary Activity visa

We are offering a very reasonable professional fee to act for clients wishing to obtain the COVID – 19 subclass 408 Visa.

Given the advice from Home Affairs and unless further guidance is provided, it would be wise for visitor visa holders (Subclass 601- Electronic Travel Authority visa, Subclass 651 – eVisitor visa, and Subclass 600 – Visitor visa) in Australia to consider applying for an onshore Subclass 600 – Visitor visa, if possible. As the criteria for all 408 visas require health insurance and to be genuine visitor, among other requirements, there is little sense for visitor visa holders to apply for a 408 visa. This is potentially why the 408 visa is being used primarily for those with existing work rights.

The Explanatory Memorandum also states that this visa is also a response to workforce shortages in critical sectors such as agriculture, aged care and public health and who meet the above criteria. This is especially relevant to Subclass 403 – Temporary Work (International Relations) visa holders in the Seasonal Worker stream, and working holiday makers (Subclass 417- Working Holiday visa and Subclass 462 – Work and Holiday visa holders) who cannot meet the requirements for a further working holiday visa but are working in a vital sector, as announced over the weekend by the acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs. Current advice from the Department of Home Affairs (Home Affairs) also states that a 408 visa may be appropriate for any temporary visa holders working in these sectors. This includes Subclass 500 – Student visa holders and employer sponsored Subclass 457 – Temporary Work (Skilled) visa and Subclass 482 – Temporary Skill Shortage visa holders. Seasonal workers holding 403 visas with a visa condition 8503 – No Further Stay attached will have this condition automatically waived.

The visa application charge is nil.

This visa is very limited in its offering but necessarily just to those critical sectors currently listed on the immigration web site. The explanatory statement of the legislation states;

The purpose of the instrument is also to implement a measure to respond to workforce shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to areas including, but not limited to, agriculture, aged care and public health. The instrument is designed 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, provided the applicant falls within the class of persons specified by the instrument.

It is not designed for all temporary residents. The employer/sponsor does not need to have sponsorship approval, unlike the other 408 streams. There is no mention of how many hours you need to work for the key term is, “Participate in Government endorsed event”. There is also no need to be employed before the visa is applied for.

John Young – 17 April, 2020