Immigration has earlier listed the COVID-19 pandemic as an 'event' eligible for the 408 Temporary Activities visa earlier this week. It provides an additional pathway for people working critical sectors to remain in Australia.
Here is an easy-to-read summary of all the details and what it means for you.
If your visa about to expire (or has expired) and you are unable to leave Australia due to the border lockdown, please don’t panic! There might be a new option for you to stay in Australia!
WHEN: Commencing 4 April 2020, this visa subclass will stay open until further notice by DOHA.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? FREE. Immigration is not charging for the 'COVID-19 Pandemic' substream of the 408 visa.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO APPLY? You must meet all of the following requirements to be eligible.
You work in one of the 'critical sectors' related to this pandemic (see details below)
You are currently in Australia and you are unable to leave as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
You cannot reapply for your current, or another, temporary visa
You have relevant skills to undertake work relating to the current workforce shortage
You currently hold a visa that will expire within 28 days, or your visa has just expired within the last 28 days
WHAT IS CONSIDERED 'CRITICAL SECTORS'?
The 'critical sectors' during this pandemic as listed by DOHA are agriculture, aged care, and public health sectors.
However, the list is not limited and may include other relevant sectors such as childcare and disability, if you can demonstrate that your work directly contributes to the provision of essential goods and services.
HOW LONG WILL MY VISA BE GRANTED FOR?
Immigration did not specify for how long this visa will be granted, but stated that it will be ‘for the duration of the event’. Based on the current news reports, it may take up to 6 months before the borders open again. It is likely that the visa will be granted for the duration of this time or up to DOHA’s discretion.
IS THIS VISA SUITABLE FOR ME?
In some ways, if you meet all the requirements above, that means this is likely your only option.
The key requirement for this visa is for you to be undertaking critical work, so unless you are currently employed or likely to be employed in the relevant positions, you won't be eligible for this visa. This visa is for the purpose of allowing you to work in Australia in certain roles until the pandemic situation has deescalated, rather than an option to extend your stay in Australia.
We sincerely wish everyone luck during this difficult time. Stay safe and hope you have a relaxing Easter.