News: Visa Changes for Anyone Working in Critical Industries

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian Government has introduced a new visa – the Temporary Activity (subclass 408) visa – that is available to international students in Australia. 

This is a temporary visa that allows you to stay in Australia if you are employed in a ‘critical industry sector’, including health care and food processing. There is no visa application charge for Subclass 408 (although you may need to pay other costs for requirements such as health checks and police certificates) and the visa allows approved applicants to stay in Australia for up to 12 months. 

What can I do on the Subclass 408 visa?

With the Temporary Activity visa, you can:

  • Remain in Australia, if you have no other visa options (for example, if your studies have finished during this time) and are unable to depart Australia due to COVID-19 travel restrictions
  • Remain in Australia to continue your work in critical sectors. These include agriculture, food processing, health care, aged care, disability care and child care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Medical professionals making employment arrangements in the health care sector are also able to apply for this visa.

This visa is not open to visitors to Australia who are unable to support themselves during this time – these people must make arrangements to return home.

Who can apply?

There are certain requirements and conditions that must be met for people applying for the Subclass 408 visa. These include:

  • Having a current visa that expires in 28 days or less or your last substantive temporary visa expired less than 28 days ago,
  • Either having evidence from your employer that you have ongoing work in a critical sector and that an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident cannot fill the position, or demonstrating you can’t meet the requirements of any other visa,
  • Maintaining adequate health insurance during your stay in Australia.

You can find the full list of requirements here.

Applicants can also include family members in the application.

Please note, this visa is only available to people currently in Australia.

For more information and to apply for this visa, visit the Department of Home Affairs website.