On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a pandemic. A new visa option has recently been announced by the Australian Government in response to the Coronavirus Pandemic. The new COVID-19 Pandemic event visa is now available under Subclass 408.
Subclass 408 visa
The Subclass 408 visa is a Temporary Activity visa that allows the holder a temporary stay in Australia to do specific types of work.
There are 10 streams available under the Subclass 408 visa, which allows people to access this visa in a variety of situations. One of the streams under the Subclass 408 visa is for ‘Australian Government endorsed events’.
The Government released a Legislative Instrument, which came into effect on 4 April 2020, listing the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic as relevant ‘event’. Thus, there is now a new COVID-19 Pandemic event visa option available.
In order to apply for the new COVID-19 Pandemic event visa, you must:
- Be onshore in Australia; and
- Hold a visa that is 28 days or less from expiring, OR have held a substantive visa within the last 28 days; and
- Be unable to apply for the same temporary visa you hold or held; and
- Be unable to apply for any subclass of temporary visa other than the Subclass 408 visa; and
- Be engaged in, or have the relevant skills to, undertake critical work relating to supply of essential goods and services related to the COVID-19 Pandemic, such as healthcare, disability and aged care, childcare and agriculture
For the relevant legislative instrument, please click here.
The new visa option serves two purposes:
- To provide a pathway for certain former and current holders of temporary visas to lawfully remain in Australia; and
- To address the workforce shortages in critical areas like agriculture, aged care and public health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cost and Application Process
The new COVID-19 Pandemic event visa does not attract a Visa Application Charge (VAC). The visa is only available to people who are onshore and have 28 days or less remaining on their current visa or where their last substantive visa has expired up to 28 days previously.
You must hold eligible health insurance, have enough money to support yourself and any dependent family members on your family, and will only be able to stay in Australia for the duration of the Pandemic event.
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