New COVID-19 visa introduced for those unable to leave Australia

Australia has introduced a new COVID-19 Pandemic event visa stream under Subclass 408.

The visa is for those who can’t leave Australia due to travel restrictions, and who work in sectors deemed critical as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Who can apply?

The COVID-19 Pandemic event visa is only available to people in Australia who:

  • Have a current visa that is 28 days or less from expiring OR held a visa that has expired up to 28 days previously;
  • and are unable to apply for any other temporary visa other than the Subclass 408 visa;
  • and are undertaking work in critical areas during the COVID-19 pandemic including, but not limited to, agriculture, food processing, aged care and public health.

Working holiday makers who are unable to apply for a further working holiday visa and who work in critical sectors may be eligible. The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) also stated that other temporary visa holders whose visa is about to expire but cannot return home or apply for another visa, are able to apply as a last resort to ensure they remain lawful.

Applications will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, and will take into account the circumstances of the applicant’s country of origin.

Given the time sensitivity involved, we recommend temporary visa holders who find themselves in this situation to seek immigration advice as soon as possible.

How much will it cost?

The new visa stream is free.

How long will this visa be available for?

The COVID-19 visa stream is a temporary measure and will be reviewed regularly by the government during the pandemic.

Where can I find more information?

More information is available on the DHA website. If you are someone whose temporary visa is about to expire and work in a critical sector, seek professional advice on whether you are eligible to apply for this new visa stream.

Are you a temporary visa holder whose visa is about to expire? Contact our immigration specialists today to discuss your options.

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