Covid 19

Under the “Australian government endorsed event stream,” the Australian government has implemented concessional visa eligibility in response to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. These transitional arrangements define certain classes of people as “participating” in a “Covid-19 event” and allows them to apply for Subclass 408 if the applicable criteria are met.

 

Certain Event Response Workers

Pursuant to LIN (21/021), applicants may qualify where:

  • they are employed full-time, as essential staff of an overseas business that;
    • is relocating to Australia; and
    • will assist Australia’s response to the pandemic; and
  • they will assist with the establishment of the business’s operation in Australia; and
  • makes their application between 27 February 2021 and 20 June 2022; and 
  • Has not previously been granted a visa in accordance with these arrangements. 

 

Persons Unable to Depart Australia

Pursuant to LIN (21/021), applicants may qualify where:

  • they are in Australia; and
  • are unable to depart Australia due to the pandemic; and
  • either:
    • holds a substantive visa expiring within the next 28 days; or
    • held a substantive visa which ceased within the last 28 days; and
  • do not qualify for any other kind of substantive visa.

Proof of inability to depart is generally understood to be a requirement under these criteria, and thus this option should not be used as a blanket means of visa extension. 

 

Certain Aged Care Workers

Pursuant to LIN (20/229), applicants may qualify where:

  • they are in Australia; and
  • are unable to depart Australia due to the pandemic; and
  • either:
    • holds a substantive visa prohibiting work in Australia; or
    • holds a substantive visa expiring within the next 90 days; or
    • held a substantive visa which ceased within the last 28 days; and
  • has received an offer of employment from a Commonwealth-funded aged care service.

 

Certain Critical Sector Workers

Pursuant to LIN (20/229), applicants may qualify where:

  • they are in Australia; and
  • are unable to depart Australia due to the pandemic; and
  • either:
    • hold a substantive visa expiring within the next 90 days; or
    • held a substantive visa which ceased within the last 28 days; and
  • is employed or has received an offer of employment in one of the following sectors:
    • aged care sector; or
    • agriculture sector; or
    • child care sector; or
    • disability care sector; or
    • food processing sector; or
    • health care sector; and
  • does not qualify for any other kind of substantive visa

This pathway is the broadest of the available arrangements. Note that inability to depart remains a criterion under these arrangements.

 

Seasonal Worker Program Participants

Pursuant to LIN (20/229), applicants may qualify where:

  • they hold a Subclass 403 visa in the Seasonal Worker Program stream that is:
    • expiring within the next 90 days; or
    • expired within the last 28 days; and
  • are employed or have been offered employment by an approved employer.

Note that these arrangements are only available to participants of the Seasonal Worker Program. This program permits citizens of East Timor, and the Pacific region to undertake seasonal employment with approved Australian employers, in specific industries, located in designated locations. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions – COVID Visa

Q: How long will my COVID visa take to process?

The Department of Home Affairs does not provide projected processing times for Subclass 408 visa applied for pursuant to the COVID-19 event. Between October and December of 2020, 8387 COVID-19 event applications were received. In the same period, 5767 visas were issued under these arrangements.

As such, it is estimated that most COVID-19 Subclass 408 applications are finalised within 4 months. This is of course based on a limited sample size and will fluctuate based on future demand and the individual complexity of each application.

 

Q: My visa was refused or cancelled, can I now apply for the COVID-19 Visa?

The COVID arrangements do not exempt applicants from the general Subclass 408 requirements. If you have been refused a visa, or have had your visa cancelled whilst within Australia, you will likely not be able to make a valid application under the COVID arrangements. Applicants subject to a bar under Section 48 of the Migration Act 1958 will be prevented from applying for most subclasses of visa, unless first departing Australia. 

 

Q: The pandemic is bad in my home country. Is this grounds for the COVID-19 Visa?

There is no concessional eligibility based on the pandemic situation in your home country. Unless you are an event response worker or Seasonal Worker Program participant, you are expected to return to your home country if able.

Further, most cohorts eligible under the COVID-19 visa concessions must not be eligible for an alternative visa subclass. 

It is the expectation of the Department of Home Affairs that migrants depart Australia if they do not qualify for a visa and are able to return home. There is no exception to this expectation merely due to the COVID health crisis in your country of citizenship.  

 

Q: Can I work on the COVID-19 visa?

Generally speaking, the COVID-19 visa arrangements will permit work only if you apply as a critical sector worker. Persons applying merely due to inability to depart will generally not be permitted to work. 

 

Q: How long will my visa be issued for, and how many can I have?

The Department of Home Affairs has indicated that critical workers will be issued their visa for up to 12 months, with other applicants receiving up to 3 months. Whilst there is no hard limit on the number of Subclass 408 visas that can be granted to you, you must ensure that you continue to meet the visa criteria with each consecutive application.

 

408 Covid Visa
Australian Covid Visa
NSW | VIC | QLD | SA | WA

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