In a major development, the Albanese Labor Government has declared that Australia’s Pandemic Event (subclass 408) visa will come to an end by February 2024. The gradual phasing-out of the visa subclass will start on 2 September 2023. Here’s what you need to be aware of.
Why are these changes happening?
The 408 visa was introduced when Australia was deeply impacted by COVID-19 to assist those stranded by border shutdowns. This visa was key in supporting Australia’s economy by allowing these individuals to work.
As the country moves forward in its recovery, the government is shifting its stance. They feel that the main reason for this visa has been addressed. Hence, the push is now to revert to more standard visa procedures, in line with Australia’s evolving needs.
As stated by Hon. Andrew Giles, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, “The Pandemic Event visa was an important part of Australia’s visa system during the pandemic. Many people on temporary visas helped Australia during this period. We’re providing an opportunity for people who hold a Pandemic Event visa to explore another visa option, or plan to leave Australia.”
What are the key details I need to know?
- End date: The Pandemic Event visa will no longer be available as of February 2024. Australia is transitioning to a post-pandemic phase, and this step reflects that progression.
- Renewal terms: As of 2 September 2023, if you already have this visa, you can apply for a renewal. But note the changes: the renewal will last only six months, and there’s an application fee of A$405.
What are my options if I’m a Pandemic Event visa holder?
- Switching visas: If you’re thinking of switching to a different visa type, make sure you familiarise yourself with the requirements and qualifications of the new visa. You can consult a Registered Migration Agent for advice if you so choose.
- Stay informed: Regularly check updates on visa guidelines, as they can offer pathways or bridges to other visa types. The Department of Home Affairs is a reliable resource for all visa-related information and guidance. Continually consulting their updates will ensure you’re informed and prepared for any shifts in the visa landscape.