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408 Covid-19 Pandemic Visa: everything you need to know

The official name of the visa being abbreviated with the number ‘408′ is Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408) Australian Government endorsed events (COVID-19 Pandemic event). Despite its popularity is a recent issue, this temporary migratory program was launched many years ago. Recently, this specific stream of Subclass 408 has been referred to as ‘Covid Visa‘ as it was introduced during Spring 2020 to face the sudden emergency of those people stuck in Australia and unable to return to their usual country of residence.  For such reason indeed, the Department of Home Affairs has not provided applicants with any sort of working rights to 408 Visa holders. The ‘Pandemic’ stream was simply meant to represent a legal extension for short-term purposes.

In a second moment, the Australian Government has had to face a different crisis: the shortage of professionals in certain industries due to the closure of international borders. The Department of Home Affairs has thereby published a list of ‘critical sectors’ allowing workers in these industries to be granted a visa for up to 12 months with working rights. Those temporary visa holders employed in critical sectors with their visas about to expire should contact their employer and ask them to be offered a 12-months job proposal.

However, in March 2022, the Australian Government removed sector limitations [Click here to read more]

It is important to note, as underlined on the official website, that a 408 visa requires the applicant to be a ‘genuine temporary entrant‘. Such requirement imposes on the case officer the duty of granting or rejecting the visa application according to a specific document called ‘Genuine Temporary Entrant Letter’. Within this document, an applicant or his/her agent needs to satisfy the Department that the application is made for genuine purposes and not only to maintain ongoing residency. An application can range from relatively easy to very hard depending on certain factors like the nationality of passport held, age, visa history, and criminal records.

Another very common source of complication is represented by technicalities. Although statistics indicate a low rate of rejection for this visa, much more frequent is the case where mistakes are committed that prevent the case officer to fully understand the situation. What often happens is the visa being granted without working rights and for very short periods of time (up to 12 weeks).

Let’s focus on the frequently asked questions in relation to this visa subclass:

Possibility to remain in Australia after being granted a 408 Pandemic. We got asked this on a daily basis: “is it true that I won’t be able to apply for any visa after being granted a 408 Visa”? What we are really referring to is the 8503 condition, officially known as ‘NO FURTHER STAY‘. Such a condition, in general, can be attached to a visa by a case officer when they believe there’s a risk of an unlawful attempt of permanent migration. It is good to note that condition 8503 could be used on any temporary visa (Student Visa, Tourist Visa, Working Holiday Visa).

Changing employer. Another frequent question relates to the possibility to change employers. The answer is positive: if the employment with the nominator should be terminated by any of the parts, it is possible for the 408 Visa holder to find a new employer and update the department by a specific procedure. However, the policy requires the visa holder to remain in the same critical sector.

Health Insurance. An Overseas Visitor Health Cover (OVHC) is generally required to be granted this visa unless the nationality of your passport is included (it is the case of Belgium, Finland, Italy Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Ireland, Slovenia, Sweden, United Kingdom).

Changing Visa before 408 expires. This visa is no different from any other subclass: once it is approved, you can freely change it, even if the visa is not close to expiry yet.

Being offered a ‘casual’ position. Although it is possible, we would not suggest being offered a casual position. This visa is indeed thought to supply to the shortage, and a casual position could make the visa application look not genuine.

How can we help you? As a migration agency, we offer assistance for any visa application to our customers, including a 408 VISA. The Covid Pandemic Visa comes at a cost of $484 (GST included) and is included in the cost of services:

  • redaction of employer letter to be only signed 
  • redaction of Genuine Temporary Entrant letter
  • draft, check, and application of your visa
  • preparation of Nil VAC statement
  • assistance with change of occupation for the entire duration of the visa if it occurs
  • provision to Immi Department of official replies in case of ‘Request for More Information’ s56

All is done by a registered migration agent (number 1801443)

Moreover, you can choose to book a strategic consultation before applying for a 408 Visa. Indeed, if well used, it can become an effective bridge to certain permanent visas. A registered migration agent will assist you to choose an occupation for your 408 VISA that would be relevant for Skills Assessment or Skilled Migration.

Visa News Australia

Atlas Migration is a free info-point based in Sydney but operating all across Australia. If you wish to receive an answer in relation to a question concerning your Visa, migration matter, educational pathways and general information, feel free to contact our dedicated Facebook chat (click here) and one of our consultants will be at your disposal for free. We also deal with migration matters (Migration Agent consultation, Australian visas application, Citizenship request, skills assessment) and educational pathways for international students (English courses, vocational courses, University and higher education pathways). 

We’d like to remind you that at this moment to people in certain parts of Australia it is requested to respect social distancing, which means keeping a 1,5 meters distance from other individuals. On the official website of your Australian state, you will be able to find additional information. To retrieve information valid on a national scale, you can visit the Department of Health official website. If you recognize in yourself symptoms similar to fever or flu, our advice is to stay home and get tested immediately. You can do so by contacting your General Practitioner or by calling the free toll number 1800 020 080.   

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