Oz Visa Info is a registered migration agent based in Perth, West Australia, as well as representatives in Sydney and London. We specialize in helping you obtain the correct visa for Australia to ensure your successful migration to Australia. We will work with you during every step of the way in obtaining the visa. Contact us today for a free consultation
The 408 Pandemic Visa
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Australia established the Pandemic Event Stream of the 408 Visa to provide flexible arrangements for visa holders in Australia.
Here’s what you should know about this visa option to extend your stay.
- Who can apply for a 408 (Pandemic Stream) Visa?
- What is a Critical Sector for the 408 Visa?
- Should employers consider the 408 Visa option for employees?
- What should I know before applying?
Who can apply for a 408 (Pandemic Stream) Visa?
You may be able to apply for the 408 (Pandemic Stream) Visa if you:
- Are in Australia;
- Have a visa that is expiring / expired;
- Have no other visa options.
In addition to the above, you can only apply for this visa for two reasons – either:
a.) For work in a Critical Sector
- You must have 90 days or less on your current visa or your last substantive visa* expired less than 28 days ago (Note: Substantive visas do not include Bridging Visas);
b.) To extend your stay because you cannot depart Australia due to COVID-19 travel restrictions
- You must have 28 days or less on your current visa or your last substantive visa expired less than 28 days ago.
How long can I stay in Australia on a 408 Pandemic Visa?
The Government’s definition of a Critical Sector may change depending on Australia’s needs during the pandemic. Here’s what it currently includes for the 408 Visa:
If you are working in a critical sector – up to 12 months
If you are not working in a critical sector – up to 3 months
If you currently hold a COVID-19 Pandemic event visa that is about to expire you may be eligible for another COVID-19 Pandemic event visa if:
If you wish to remain in Australia to continue working in a critical sector, or
you are unable to depart Australia before the expiry of your visa due to COVID-19 travel restrictions
Should employers consider the 408 Visa for employees?
The 408 Pandemic Event Visa is not a sponsored visa. Individual applicants may apply with evidence that:
- An Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident cannot fill the position;
- The position is needed for work in a Critical Sector – including dates of work.
Provided that the work is for a Critical Sector (including agriculture, food processing, health care, aged care, disability care and child care during the COVID-19 pandemic)and the visa holder is currently in Australia, there are a few scenarios where employers and employees have been using this visa:
- For workers on a Working Holiday Maker Visa that do not meet the requirements for a second or third Working Holiday Maker Visa and are unable to leave Australia;
Note: Those approved for Critical Work in the health or medical sectors can use their work on the 408 Visa as ‘eligible work’ for a second or third Working Holiday Visa;
- For workers on the Seasonal Worker Program whose visa is expiring / expired.
As global mobility is limited during the pandemic, the 408 Visa option has been used to allow for ongoing work in critical areas that are experiencing skill shortages.
What should I know before applying for a 408 Visa?
To apply as a Critical Sector worker, evidence from an employer is required.
To apply to extend your stay due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, you should include evidence that:
- You cannot fly due to COVID-19 travel restrictions;
- You have no other visa options based on your intended activities;
- You have enough funds to support your stay (you will not be provided work rights).
All 408 Visa applicants should provide evidence of health insurance.
Other things to note:
- You can add family members in Australia to this visa;
- You can apply for another 408 Visa if it is about to expire (if still eligible);
- You must meet the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement.
What is the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement?
Some Temporary Visas in Australia have a GTE requirement to assess if you genuinely intend to stay temporarily in Australia. It considers a range of factors including:
- Your reasons for applying and whether these fit the visa’s intended purpose;
- Your visa history – to ensure you are not attempting to maintain ongoing residence without using the appropriate Permanent Residence Visa pathways;
- Your compliance with visa conditions;
- Other relevant matters – including your suitability for the role, circumstances in your home country and whether the role was created to secure your ongoing stay.