Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) Visa (Subclass 400)

The Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa (subclass 400) allows for highly skilled workers to enter into Australia for up to 6 months to perform specialised work. You may be eligible for this visa if you have a skill that is rare in Australia, are introducing or maintaining new technology in Australia, undertaking work for a specific event in Australia for an international company, or have been invited to participate in an event. These are only some of the possibilities.

There are two streams:

  • Highly specialised work stream
  • Australia’s interest stream

Read: Need A Specialist From Overseas to Work Temporarily in Australia?


Return visits/intermittent work

It is a requirement under the highly specialised work stream, that work be non-ongoing. There are however many cases in which work may be intermittent or repetitive, for example, a board member flying into Australia for a week every month to attend board meetings, which might require a visa holder to make further 400 visa applications. Heavy consideration is of course given to the circumstances. As a generic rule of thumb, an 400 visa holder should not b staying in Australia for more than 6 months in any 12 month period.


457 visa applicants

If there is an urgent need for a worker to travel to Australia at short notice to commence work for which they have made a 457 visa application, they may be eligible for 400 visa as a bridge whilst they wait for their 457 visa application to be processed. In such cases a stay of 3 months may be granted. It is important to include evidence of why it is necessary for the 457 visa applicant to enter into Australia before their 457 visa decision.


Special cases


Given the nature of the visa, further and/or repeated 400 visa applications are likely to raise suspicions with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. However, highly specialised workers who are on stand by to travel to Australia on short notice for urgent matters, may make further applications to maintain a valid visa in the case of an unanticipated event. Examples would include a specialist technician required to repair a major equipment breakdown on an oil rig, or medical crew providing services on medivac flights. Such applicants are eligible for a 6 month visa with multiple entry.

Intra company transfers

Short term intra company transfers may be eligible for the 400 visa. Examples include:

  • An auditor from an international company to enter Australia to assist the Australian subsidiary during busy auditing periods.
  • A project manager with proprietary knowledge/skills to enter Australia to assist allow the manager of an Australian company to go on leave

The 400 visa should not be used to rotate employees through intra company transfers as a means of filling in a longer term position. If a longer term position is required to be filled and the knowledge and skills needed for the position is best filled by a current overseas employee, the Temporary Work (Skilled) 457 visa should be considered.

Read: Temporary Work (Skilled) 457 Visas


Domestic staff employed by visitor visa holders

Domestic workers accompanying employers travelling to Australia for tourism or business should apply for a Visitor visa (subclass 600).

Read: Can We Bring Our Domestic Worker to Australia?


Sports persons and support staff

An applicant who is coming into Australia for sporting purposes may apply for the 400 visa if they are at a level that is equivalent to the Australian national level of their sport. Support staff such as coaches, physiotherapists, sports coordinators, referees and team officials are also eligible.

Short term activity/work in which the applicant may be eligible for a 400 visa include:

  • Participating in a short term event such as a competition, trial or promotional match
  • Compete in a major event or tournament, such as the Australian Open or Ashes series
  • Trying out for a specialised coaching position
  • Compete in a sporting competition and undertaking training that supports their participation in that competition; training alone is insufficient unless resulting in a competition
  • Trying out for an Australian national level sporting club; the trial can be through a club’s reserve team but not through a feeder team

Professional sports players contracted to play in a national level competition who require a visa for more than 3 months may be requested to provide evidence of such, along with documentation that they are being remunerated accordingly.

Sports player but competing on a regional club level? You may be eligible for the Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408) instead.

Read: Temporary Activity Visa (Subclass 408)



Academics who are wanting to come to Australia to do research, a guest lecture or other work for a higher education institution on a short term basis. It is important that the proposed activity/work does not have adverse consequences for employment or training opportunities.


Freelance workers

If the applicant is a freelance worker and does not have an invitation or contract with the Australian company, details of the Australian organisations that is hosting or helping them arrange their stay must still be provided. Such applicants should include their itinerary in their application.


International media representatives

Journalists, photo journalists, correspondents, reporters coming to Australia to cover a certain event for international news organisations would be eligible for the 400 visa. Based on the event, such as the Ashes cricket series, a visa of more than 3 months may be granted.


Entertainment industry restrictions – highly specialised work stream

Production shown in Australia

Performers, directors producers, and support staff seeking to enter Australia to engage in a  film, television, radio, theatre production, concert or recording that would be shown in Australia, should not apply for the 400 visa, whether or not it is under a performing contract of for non-profit purposes. Such applicants should apply for the Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408).

Read: Temporary Activity Visa (Subclass 408)


Production not shown in Australia

If however the production will not be performed, shown or broadcast in Australia, the applicant may still be eligible for the 400 visas. Situations in which a 400 visa would be appropriate include:

  • The material is clearly aimed at an overseas audience
  • The material has been commissioned by an overseas television broadcaster
  • The initial point of distribution is overseas and no deal has been made for Australian distribution (and there is no intention to do so)
  • It seeks to cater the culture or language of an overseas audience

Productions that target an international audience would not be eligible.


Promotional activity

Entertainers entering into Australia to promote an upcoming production, such the release of a movie in Australia, are able to apply for the 400 visa. It is expected that they would be interviewed by the media and make promotional media appearances, but are not to engage in hosting or performance activities. They are also not to cameo in roles in Australian theatre or broadcast drama.



Speakers that seek to enter in Australia for seminars on wealth building or motivational talks are eligible for the 400 visa. Comedians are not however eligible for the 400 visa.


Performance workshops

Performances artists such as dance teacher may be eligible for the 400 visa, if they wish to enter into Australia to hold workshops, but are not to engage in performances themselves. Applicants in this scenario are expected to have a very strong professional background and should include demonstrate so in their application.


Study and training restrictions – highly specialised work stream

Applicants are not to embark on a course that leads to the completion of a primary or secondary education programme, an award course (degree, diploma, trade certificate), or study that would result in credits towards a course in at a higher educational institution in Australia or overseas. Language training programme are acceptable.


Exception for training of highly specialised workers

A highly specialised worker may, during their stay, also receive some training, so long as that training will not contribute to any formal education qualification by means of completion or credits.

Examples of acceptable scenarios:

  • A highly specialised doctor seeking to undertake workplace-based training in the latest surgical procedures
  • A highly specialised scientist seeking to undertake workplace based training coordinated by an Australian Government organisation
  • A highly specialised scientist/academic seeking to undertake workplace based training or collaborative work at an Australian institute

The 400 visa may be applicable in many circumstances. If you are looking for a visa for short term or intermittent work in Australia, it is quite possible that you might qualify for the 400 visa. Remember however, that the proposed activity/work must be one for which you are uniquely qualified.