The Australian government, in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, has endorsed a Temporary Activity visa subclass 408. This visa allows holders to remain in Australia for anywhere up to 12 months.

Your options to stay in Australia

If you are currently on a Working Holiday Visa and plan to Study or extend your stay in Australia, we can guide you through the process and assist you with course enrollment, visa services, accommodation and insurance related matters. Scholar Hub provides these services for free to prospective clients.

Consult our Migration Agent!

The Australian government has listed 7 industries that are critical to the COVID-19 response:

  • agriculture
  • food processing
  • health care
  • aged care
  • disability care
  • childcare or
  • tourism and hospitality

Applicants working in different occupations may also be eligible to apply for the subclass 408 visa (Covid stream) if they are working for employers whose primary purpose is to directly provide a service to tourists.

If you apply in Australia, the visa starts the day we grant it. If you apply outside Australia, you will not meet the requirements for this visa and will be refused.

Your visa grant letter will tell you how long you can stay.

If you currently hold a COVID-19 Pandemic event visa that is about to expire you can apply for a new COVID-19 Pandemic event visa to remain in Australia if you continue to meet the eligibility requirements.

  • The visa application is AUD $315.
  • The visa application can be Free – if applicants must select ‘yes’ to the visa application charge concession question in the application and select the ‘Nil VAC’ option.

​Processing times are not available for this visa.

Applicants whose departure is delayed by COVID-19 travel restrictions must:

  • tell us why the restrictions prevent your departure
  • hold a substantive visa that expires in 90 days or less, or your last substantive visa expired less than 28 days ago
  • You and your family must comply with all visa conditions and Australian laws.
  • You and your family need to comply with all public health directions to stay safe and help fight COVID-19.
  • Learn more about conditions for this visa.
  • Your activities must not harm the work, training or job conditions of Australian citizens or permanent residents.
  • If you have been granted a COVID-19 Pandemic event visa for up to 12 months to work in a critical sector you must continue to work in the critical occupation and position for which you were granted the visa.
  • You may be permitted to work in the same critical occupation for a different employer, but must notify the Department of any changes of employment by completing a Notification of changes in circumstances (Form 1022)
  • Workers who last arrived in Australia under the Seasonal Worker Program must only work for their Approved Employer. Any changes to employment must be approved by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE).

While on a 408 pandemic event visa, the holder is allowed to switch jobs if it’s in the same critical occupation and position that the visa was originally granted for. If you are changing employers, you must notify the Department and complete a ‘notification of changes in circumstance’ and a letter of offer from your new employer. Once notified, you will be able to begin working your new job. This visa does not allow the holder to take up work that is inconsistent with the work the visa grant was based upon.

If you hold a valid working holiday visa and work in a critical sector, you do not need to request permission to work longer than 6 months with your employer. Critical sectors include agriculture, food processing, age care, and childcare. If in doubt, though, contact the Department for clarification.

If you are working in a non-critical sector and want to work longer than 6 months, you will need to request permission.

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The 6-month work limit is applied to each visa separately, so once your bridging visa kicks in, the 6-month limit comes into effect again. This means you can work for the same employer for another six months as soon your bridging visa begins.

The subclass 408 pandemic event visas are not affected by the 6-month work limit.

Jobs in agriculture, food processing and health, disability, aged and childcare, are classified as critical sectors. However, other job roles are arguably critical too. If you contact us and provide a detailed overview of the role, we can give our professional opinion on whether your application is likely to be successful or not.

Your work in a critical sector can be counted as specified work only if it meets the pre-existing requirements of the working holiday visa you plan to apply for later. If your job does not meet the requirements, you will be unable to count it as specified work in order to apply for a further working holiday visa.

The Covid-19 pandemic visa has been brought in as a last resort option. If you find yourself unable to leave Australia due to the current pandemic, your visa is expiring in the next 28 days, and you do not qualify for any other visas, you are eligible for a 408 COVID-19 pandemic visa.

It is also important to make sure your visa has not expired more than 28 days ago.

Yes. If you contact us, we can establish whether you are likely to get work rights and for how long. Remember, consults are free of charge, and we have lodged hundreds of 408 visas since the pandemic event stream was introduced earlier this year.

Your visa grant letter displays the conditions associated with your visa type. It is important to read it carefully and be fully aware of what you can and cannot do.

If you are working in a critical sector, you may be given a pandemic visa that permits you to stay in Australia for 12 months, which also applies to critical sector workers who are part of the Seasonal Worker Program or Pacific Labour Scheme.

If you are applying purely as a last resort, you will be granted permission to stay for a number of months (the length can vary) ensuring you remain in Australia lawfully until you are able to return home.

It is free. However, as part of the application you may have to pay for health checks and police certificates.

Because you have not met the 3 months of specified work criteria, you will not be able to apply for a second working holiday visa at this time. However, since agricultural work is classed as critical work, you can apply for a 408 pandemic event visa and continue working in Australia.

Yes. To apply for this visa whilst currently on a visa without working rights, it is crucial that you compile evidence that you have a relevant skill to work in a critical sector or have confirmation from a critical sector employer that they are going to employ you. You must have a job offer or an employment contract as the work rights element of this visa is linked to your employer.

As a main applicant you are only able to apply for a graduate visa once. If you are working in one of the critical sectors, or have skills related to these sectors, you try applying for the 408-pandemic visa with work rights. If you are working in a different area, get in touch and we can provide some advice as to whether you are likely to be granted work rights.

If you are employed in a critical sector, you do not need permission to work longer than six months with one employer. If you have worked for the same employer for six months while on a WHV, you can also work for the same employer again for a further six months from the date when your bridging visa begins.

Yes. If you get full work rights, your partner will also get full work rights. Obviously, they will not be restricted to any one employer, like the primary applicant. They do not need to wait for their current visa to expire.