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408 pandemic visa: everything you need to know

Today we are analysing the visa known as the Covid Visa. The formal name of this visa is actually very long: Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408) Australian Government endorsed events (COVID-19 Pandemic event). With this visa, you may have the permission for one year of unlimited working rights.
In a time where obtaining a permanent residency is possible for categories of people who were excluded before 2020, this visa represents an excellent solution to avoid the application of other expensive visas. Furthermore, since there is no age limit on this visa, the use of the Covid Visa helps to keep refusals in Student Visa applications away for people over 40 who are generally more subject to refusals.
OFFICIAL SOURCES OF INFORMATION
Before going into technical details here is a direct link to the official source: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/temporary-activity-408/australian-government-endorsed-events-covid-19 
NON-TECHNICAL CONSIDERATIONS AND ASSUMPTIONS ON THE END OF THE MIGRATION PROGRAMME
The 408 Covid Visa is considered by many  ‘too good to be true’ and that’s why we suggest to apply for it if you can.
This visa, which has been in use for many years, was redeployed in May 2020 as a quick solution for people ‘stranded in Australia’. It was later adapted to help keeping up with the lack of manpower in the countryside and avoiding the loss of crops. Nowadays, the 408 visa purpose is to encourage workers who, if not incentivised would leave the country, to stay in Australia and avoiding slowing down the post-pandemic economic recovery.

So, yes it’s a good visa both for the government and migrants:  it helps migrants as much as they help Australia get back to pre-pandemic production rates.

How long is the visa meant to be available for?

We cannot include the speculations about the end of this visa among the technical considerations as there aren’t official information.
On 12 January 2023 we asked in the Migration Institute of Australia forum, a MIA delegate confirmed the lack of detailed information and he also said ‘the days would now be numbered ‘.
Since the visa is still available at the beginning of 2023 we may assume it will be available until the end of the financial year.
TECHNICAL CONSIDERATIONS
Although the protocol to obtain the visa is very specific (it is a small ‘sponsor’ where the employer is the government), the requirements are pretty simple:

  • a) be physically in Australia
  • b) have a regular job
  • c) your visa must expire in the next 90 days

 

FAQ on the 408 pandemic visa

Can I apply for the 408 visa on my own or do I need a migration agency? 

It depends on the applicant and how capable he feels of taking care of it himself. There are tutorials online but they are often not updated, applications following them have often resulted in invalid or rejected applications, due to small mistakes or having attached the right documents in the wrong format.

The requirements for this visa are pretty basic but making a tiny mistake in the application can lead in a refusal that needs to be appealed, the court fee is AUD $3,150; is it really worth the attempt?!

You can’t apply for further visas after getting the 408, can you? 

No, this is just a rumor: you can apply and be granted any other visas after obtaining a 408 covid visa.

Can I apply for a 408 visa if I work in ABN?

Yes: if you work in ABN for other companies, for example those working in construction, as the visa is issued with a ‘no-self employment’ condition.
We have had applicants (such as psychologists) who have received this working on their own, however, we prefer to stick to the official regulation where self-employment would not be possible.

Can I change jobs once my visa is approved?

Yes, moreover you don’t need to notify the department about it.

Can I travel once the visa is approved?

Once again the answer is yes.
Once your 408 visa is granted, you can freely enter and exit the country.

When should I apply for my 408 visa?

You can only apply for your 408 visa within 90 til your current visa expires.

When is it more convenient to apply in this 90-day period?

There are two options to be considered:

  • a) apply as soon as possible (when there are 90 days left in your current visa): you waste three months of visa, but you have a one year visa granted
  • b) apply in the last weeks before your visa expires: you use the whole validity of the current visa but there is the risk for the pandemic visa to be removed

There is no right or wrong, there are pros and cons. It’s up to you to decide.

Can I apply for a Covid Visa in between two Working Holiday Visa?

Yes. Even though the department encourages applicants to apply for every other available visa before going for the 408 Covid Visa, we have witnessed a high number of approvals for those applying in between working holidays.

Applying for a covid visa in between working holidays is, indeed, a great way to collect a longer time of full time working right in Australia.

Make sure you complete your 88 days of specific work while on your WHV because you can’t top them up once you are on a 408 visa.

What do I need to apply a 408 visa?

These are the documents we will need in order to process your 408 visa application:

If you intend to apply, please send the documents to infopoint@atlasmigration.com and we will start the procedures as soon as possible.
One of our consultants will also be in touch free of charge to check the requirements again and answer any remaining questions.

Why apply with Atlas Migration?

The cost of the service includes:

  • Visa preparation, check and application
  • Drafting of the GTE Letter
  • Preparation of the Nil VAC statement
  • Preparation of the Reciprocal Agreement Statement to avoid private insurance obligation
  • Assistance with requesting ‘More Information’ from the department including obtaining a Police Check

If you have any questions or would like to be in touch with us:

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