Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Australia has introduced a special visa. The so-called Temporary Activity Visa (Subclass 408) – Australia Government Endorsed Events is more commonly known as Covid-19 Visa (Subclass 408). You can only apply for this Covid-19 visa if you are within Australia.
The so-called Covid-19 visa in Australia is a visa option in case you cannot return to your home country or you have a job in the selected critical areas. Although this Covid-19 visa is currently very popular, it is not necessarily the best option. You should therefore read the following information carefully and then decide whether the visa is right for you.
- All important information about the Covid-19 visa for Australia (Subclass 408)
- How to apply for the Covid-19 visa in Australia
- Important information & questions for all Working Holiday Visa holders and Covid-19
- Common questions & problems with the Covid-19 visa (subclass 408)
All important information about the Covid-19 visa for Australia (Subclass 408)
The Covid-19 visa in Australia comes with some restrictions compared to the regular Working Holiday Visa for Australia.
The Covid-19 visa is valid for a maximum of 12 month (but can be granted shorter). You are just allowed to work for the employer that proofed your employment. If you want to change your employer you need to ask immigration if that's ok.
If you would like to stay longer in Australia and have qualified for an extension, we recommend you to extend your Working Holiday Visa. You have more options with the Working Holiday Visa, you are more flexible and the application is easier and faster than with the Covid-19 Visa (Subclass 408).
In some special cases it may make sense to apply for the Covid-19 visa (subclass 408). Here are a few facts about when the visa is suitable for you.
Who can apply for the Covi-19 visa
You can apply for the Covid-19 (Subclass 408) visa regardless of age and nationality and existing visa type, if you are already in Australia.
You must have health insurance for the duration of your stay. In order to apply for the visa you must either be unable to return to your home country (border closure or other reasons), or alternatively you must have an employer from one of the following industries (who will support you).
- Food Processing
- Disability Care or Child Care
- Medical staff
In addition your employer must confirm the period of employment, provide information about the industry and prove that there was no suitable Australian to fill your position.
So the requirements for the Covid-19 visa are relatively strict and give you little freedom to travel.
When can I apply for the Covid-19 visa
You can submit your application at no earlier than 28 days before your current visa expires.
What documents do I need to apply for the Covid-19 visa
- Health Insurance
- Proof of the employer (for example employment contract)
Restriction of your job options (Subclass 408)
If you apply for your Covid-19 visa (subclass 408) with the support of your employer, then this visa is also tied to your employer.
A change of employer is only possible after approval by Homeaffairs. You are obliged to inform Homeaffairs immediately upon termination of employment or a planned change of employer.
Processing time for the Covid-19 Visa (Subclass 408)
The Homeaffairs website does not currently indicate an exact processing time. However, feedback from other backpackers show periods of around 3-4 months for processing.
If your current visa expires and your new visa is still being processed, you will first end up on a bridging visa. Make sure you read the terms and conditions of your bridging Visa, because it is possible that you will be allowed to continue working with your bridging Visa until the decision about your new visa has been made.
Usually the bridging visa will give you the same rights as your previous visa, but make sure to check the details on your bridging visa what you are allowed and what not.
What does the Covid-19 Visa (Subclass 408) cost
The Covid-19 visa (subclass 408) is free of charge during the Covid-19 pandemic. The other variations of the Subclass 408 visa cost at least 310 AUD.
How to apply for the Covid-19 visa in Australia
You can only apply for the visa online via the official Homeaffairs website.
Can I apply for Australian Permanent Residency from Subclass 408 Visa
The road to an Australian permanent residence permit is long and anything but easy. Therefore we cannot promise you that this is possible. The application for permanent residency in Australia is simply too complex for that. However, you are welcome to consult our partner Visapath about your options.
Important information & questions for all Working Holiday Visa holders and Covid-19
If you are currently in the process of choosing to extend your visa, it is definitely easier to extend your existing Working Holiday Visa. Because the conditions are much easier and do not restrict you as much when you want to work.
If you have completed your 88 days for the second Work and Travel Visa (or your 179 days for the third Work and Travel Visa), then you better use your Working Holiday Extension.
Only if you do not qualify for a Work and Travel Visa extension should you take a closer look at the Covid-19 visa.
I don't qualify for a Working Holiday extension:
If you don't qualify for a Working Holiday extension, then have a closer look at the Covid-19 visa (Subclass 408).
This visa can give you up to 12 month of stay, work rights and the option to stay longer.
Check if you find (or already have) a job in the right industry to be able to apply for this kind of visa (possible industries are listed further up).
Common questions & problems with the Covid-19 visa (subclass 408)
The visa is issued only for the duration of your employment contract:
Since one of the visa requirements is your employment contract, the visa is often limited to the duration of your employment. You can only avoid this if your employer states that you will be employed there for a longer period of time. The maximum visa validity is currently 12 months.
Can i apply for the Covid-19 Visa if I was on a tourist visa before:
You can apply from any previous visa. You can't apply for the Covid-19 visa earlier then 28 days before your current visa expires and you need to be in australia while applying for the Covid-19 visa.
I want to stay in Australia, because the flight back to my homecountry doesn't feel safe for me:
You can try to apply for the visa because you do not want to risk a return flight to your homecountry. If there is a border closure for your country or you think the flight is risky, you can give this as a reason. Whether or not your application is approved with this reason is at the discretion of the official who is processing your application.
The visa is refused:
Your employment contract, the money proof or the reasons to stay in Australia were not plausible. In case of doubt the visa will be refused.
You can only avoid this if you check all documents and proofs completely and accurately. As soon as there is even the slightest doubt, your application can be rejected.
A rejection of the visa application is also a bad basis for any other future visa application. Therefore, make sure that you provide all the necessary information. If you are unsure, invest the money and let a professional help you.
Other interesting articles for you:
- Current Information & Updates around Covid-19 in Australia
- Everything about the Second Working Holiday in Australia
- Best apps for your Australia journey
- Why I started the WorkingHoliday Blog
Ciao Julian 🙂
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