Subclass 408 COVID-19 pandemic event visa (AGEE stream) 2022

Last Updated : 3:25 pm, Thursday, 17 March 2022 (ACDT)

The Australian Government endorsed event stream has been adapted to assist temporary visa holders stuck in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

There is NO application charge for the 408 visa COVID-19 pandemic stream.

With this visa 408 Australia, you can:

  • remain in Australia to work in ANY sectors during the covid-19 pandemic from 6-12 months
  • include members of the familty unit in your application

*Important Update: If you apply on or after 21 February 2022, and claim that you are unable to depart Australia due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, you will NOT be eligible for a COVID-19 Pandemic event visa.

408 Covid Visa Applications made before 21 February 2022

The COVID-19 Pandemic event visa 408 changes announced by the Government on 2 March 2022 will not affect unfinalised COVID-19 Pandemic event visa applications lodged before 21 February 2022.

These applications will continue to be assessed under the arrangements applicable at the time they were lodged.

This means that the processing time of Visa 408 could be longer than expected.

408 Covid-19 Visa Requirements

This 408 visa is only for applicants who are working or intending to work in Australia. 

The requirements to obtain a 408 visa under the COVID-19 pandemic event stream are:

  • You either:
    • Hold a temporary visa which is expiring in 90 days or less
    • Do not hold any visa and have substantive visa that expired 28 days ago or less
  • You can work in ANY SECTOR within Australian economy

If you are a temporary substantive visa holder and apply for a COVID-19 Pandemic event visa on or after 21 February 2022, you may be eligible for this visa if, at time of application, you:

  • were in Australia before 21 February 2022 and are working or intending to work in Australia; or
  • arrive in Australia on or after 21 February 2022 and have work rights on your substantive visa; or
  • have a job offer from a Commonwealth funded aged care service, even if you do not have work rights on your current substantive visa.

Note: A bridging visa is not a substantive visa.


Duration of the COVID-19 pandemic event visa 408

This is a temporary visa with multiple entries; however, please be aware of some travel restrictions.

If you apply in Australia, the visa starts the day you got it granted. If you apply outside Australia, you will not meet the requirements for the 408 AGEE Pandemic Event visa and you will get it refused by the Department of Home Affairs.

The duration of the visa depends on your circumstances. The different possible periods are:

  • Up to 12 months if you work in a “critical sectors” of agriculture, food processing, health care, aged care, disability care, child care and tourism and hospitality
  • Up to 6 months for all others

Importantly, all 408 Visa holders will have work rights, noting that they are granted this visa to provide them with more time to depart Australia. These visa holders may change employment and work for more than one employer.

At time of application, you must provide evidence of your ongoing employment or offer of employment. Evidence of employment must confirm:

  • the dates of your employment
  • the sector you are working or intending to work.

 

What are critical sectors in 408 AGEE Pandemic event visa?

Critical sector is a broad term referring to a number of industries which are in high demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The critical sectors include:

  • Agriculture
  • Food processing
  • Health care
  • Aged care
  • Disability care
  • Childcare
  • Tourism and Hospitality

It is expected that the definition of this will continue to change as priorities develop.

You will need to provide a letter from your employer to confirm that you are working in a critical sector.

 Before the announcement day, workers who are working in Critical sector only can apply for 408 pandemic visa. 

With the new changes in 408 visa requirement, you are no longer asked for work experience in critical sector.

Issues applying for the Visa 408 COVID-19 pandemic event visa

Those who do not hold a substantive visa and have had a recent refusal or cancellation (that is, those affected by section 48 of the Migration Act) will not be able to apply for this visa.

If your current visa is affected by a no further stay condition 8503, 8534 or 8535, you will need to request a waiver of this in order to apply for the 408 COVID-19 pandemic stream.

Seasonal Worker Program visa holders will have this automatically waived for the 408 COVID-19 pandemic stream.

 

Further Requirements for 408 Visa Australia

In order to be eligible for the 408 visa:

  • You must satisfy the genuine temporary entrant (GTE) requirement 
  • You might be asked to provide evidence that you can financially support yourself and your accompanying family members while in Australia
  • You must meet certain health requirements
  • You will be responsible for all health requirements as you will not be covered by Australia's national health scheme
  • You must meet certain character requirements
  • You must have no outstanding debts to the Australian Government or have arranged to repay any outstanding debts to the Australian Government before this visa can be granted

 

What is the application process?

Visa applications must be made online.

Applicants and agents can access online services by creating an account in ImmiAccount. Once you have gathered documents that support your application, create an account and apply using our online application system ImmiAccount.

After you have applied for your visa you might be required to do the following:

  • attend an interview
  • provide additional information
  • provide biometric information
  • provide police certificates

Your application could take longer if you need character or health checks (including x-rays), if you need to provide more information, or if your application is incomplete. If you do not provide the documents requested, your visa application could be refused.

Note: If you plan to get a new passport, you should do so before applying for your visa.

 

FAQ for 408 pandemic event visa

I want to change employers while holding a 408 AGEE Pandemic event visa

The COVID-19 Pandemic event visa is part of the Subclass 408 (Australian Government Endorsed Event stream) visa. A criterion for this visa is that applicants seek to remain in Australia to undertake work directly associated with an event. The legislative instrument declaring this event sets out the classes of persons who are eligible, which includes those working in a critical sector, who are generally granted a 12-month visa, and those who are not working in a critical sector , who are normally granted a 6-month stay.

Visa 408 holders should continue to work in any sector.

408 visa holders are permitted to:

  • Change employment as long as they stay employe
  • Work for more than one employer in one or more 

Once a visa has been granted, the Department will not undertake further assessments or provide advice about employment changes.  

You must notify the Department of any changes of employment by completing a Notification of changes in circumstances (Form 1022) and emailing it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. together with a letter of offer for each new employer and position.

Once you have notified the Department, this auto generated response will serve as confirmation of your update. Individual confirmations or updated grant notifications will not be provided.

Seasonal Worker Program participants must only work for a SWP approved employer under the program.

Employers can access information on your visa details and conditions through VEVO.

I currently hold a visitor visa, should I apply for another visitor visa or a 408 visa?

If you are currently holding any of the visitor visas including ETA subclass 601 visa, eVisitor Subclass 651 visa or Visitor subclass 600 visa and are looking to apply for another visa to extend your stay in Australia and get work rights, the 408 visa might be an option.

The basic difference between a visitor visa and a 408 visa is that a visitor visa does not provide work rights whereas the 408 visa does provide work rights. Therefore, if you are on a visitor visa and want to apply for a 408 visa, you need to show that you hold evidence of intending to work in any sector in Australia such as: Employment offer or contract, the sector you are intending to work.

 

I am eligible for a visitor visa and a 408 visa, which visa is better option for me?

It depends on your situation which visa works for you but in general 408 visa can be a better option out of the two mainly because it provides work and study rights unlike a visitor visa 600. 

Also, keep in mind that there is no application fee for a 408 (COVID-19) stream visa application. For a visitor visa you have to pay an application fee plus you may have to pay a subsequent temporary application charge of AUD 700. This makes a visitor visa much more costly than a 408 visa.

 

I am a backpacker working with a farmer, can I apply for 408 visa?

If you are currently on a Work and Holiday visa Subclass 462 visa or Working Holiday Visa Subclass 417 visa and are working with a farmer, you may apply for a 408 visa depending on your situation.

Initial Working Holiday visas are usually granted for 12 months. Completing 3 months of ‘specified work’ on the initial visa will you access to a second working holiday visa. Further, if you complete 6 months of ‘specified work’ during the second working holiday visa period, you can apply for a third working holiday visa.

Working Holiday Visa can either be Subclass 462 or Subclass 417 depending on the nationality of the applicant.

The following industries and areas are approved as ‘specified work’:

  • Cultivation of plants and animals in regional Australia
  • fishing in regional Australia
  • pearling in regional Australia
  • tree farming and felling in regional Australia
  • mining in regional Australia
  • construction in regional Australia
  • bushfire recovery work in declared bushfire affected areas only, after 31 July 2019

If you fulfil the requirements of specified work, it is preferable that you apply for a second or third working holiday visa. If you have not done enough work or have not worked in an area or industry specified under the category of ‘specified work’, you might not be eligible for a further working holiday visa.

In this case, if you are currently working with a farmer, you might be eligible to apply for 408 visa. Farming/agriculture is considered as a critical sector and if the farmer is willing to continue to provide you work, you may apply for 408 visa.

 

I am currently on Temporary Graduate 485 visa, can I apply for 408 visa covid-19?

After finishing their studies many students may apply for a Graduate 485 visa. If your 485 visa is expiring soon and you are currently working in a any sector in Australia, you may be eligible for 408 visa.

This is a life saver for skilled migrants who have their Temporary Graduate visa 485 expring soon to have more time collecting work experience for skilled Visa 491 or 190.

I am not working in a critical sector, am I eligible for the 408 visa?

The 408 visa will allow you to lawfully remain in Australia if you have no other visa options and you will have full work rights if you are working or intending to work in Australia in ANY SECTOR. So the answer is yes, you will have work right even though you are not working in critical sectors on your visa 408 Australia.

I am applying for 408 visa as a last resort, will I get work rights?

If your current visa is expiring soon or it has already expired in the last 28 days, and you do not have any other visa options , you may be eligible for the 408 visa. In this case you must seek employment in Australia and ask for evidence to prove your employment such as: Job offer, the dates of your employment, the sector you are working or intending to work.

You want to include your overseas dependents to your 408 AGEE Covid-19 pandemic event visa application

The purpose of the subclass 408 Pandemic event visa is to facilitate those who are unable to depart Australia due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, and/or are supporting Australia’s COVID-19 labour supply issues.

You need to be in Australia both at time of application and decision.

You are unable to optain a medical appointment within the timeframe provided

If you have been requested to undertake a medical assessment, and you are unable to obtain a medical appointment within the timeframe provided, you do not need to seek an extension of time. The Department is aware of delays with medical appointment bookings due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Please book the earliest available medical appointment.

We understand that during lockdown periods, medical appointments are often suspended.

You should continue to monitor notifications through the Home Affairs and Bupa Medical Visa Services websites and make an appointment when services resume.

Please ensure all other information requested is provided to the Department within the specified time frames.

Once your medical examination has been completed the Department will be notified of the outcome of your results.

You lodged your application but a bridging visa has not been granted yet

If you were in Australia when you applied for this visa you may be granted:

  • a Bridging visa A (BVA) if you held a substantive visa when you applied
  • a Bridging visa C (BVC) if you did not hold a substantive visa when you applied

It may take up to 5 days for your Bridging visa to be granted. If you have not received your Bridging visa notification within this time please email the Major Events Visa processing mailbox and include the expiry date of your current visa.

Your Bridging visa will come into effect when your substantive visa ceases to maintain your lawful status in Australia while your new visa application is being assessed.

You currently hold a subclass 408 COVID-19 Pandemic event visa which is expiring soon

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:

  • you wish to remain in Australia to continue working

For more information on these requirements refer to Temporary Activity Visa (Subclass 408) Australian Government endorsed events.

You are close to meet visa 491/190 nomination requirement and currently applying for 408 visa, can you still apply for PR or skilled visa regional 491?

Yes, you can still use your work experience on your 408 visa to Permanent Residency in Australia.

Sources

https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/temporary-activity-408/australian-government-endorsed-events-covid-19#Overview

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