The New COVID-19 Pandemic Visa

The New COVID-19 Pandemic Visa

The government released new legislation yesterday declaring the Coronavirus Pandemic an Event under the 408 visa requirements. In classifying this emergency as an “Event”, it falls under the Government Endorsed Event stream of the visa. There is no need for any sponsorship documents in order to apply. The application is also free! Yes, no charge.

 
 

This new legislation is designed for those who are working in the critical sectors including healthcare, disability and aged care, childcare and agriculture. Those who are currently working in those industries and find their temporary visas (other than a 408 visa) are going to expire within 28 days, the 408 visa will be your lifeline to remain in Australia. You also do not have to be currently working, you may arrange to gain employment.

There is a catch, however. You still have to demonstrate the skill set to undertake an occupation in those industries and you also are unable to meet the requirements of the current visa you hold. This means if you are unable to meet the requirements for your student visa, working holiday visa, working visa, etc.

It is also possible to apply for the 408 visa if your most recent visa has expired but only up to 28 days since this happened. The new legislation states the following;

For paragraph 408.229(c) of Schedule 2 to the Regulations, an applicant for a Subclass 408 visa is in a class of persons in relation to the event specified in section 5 if, at the time of application, the applicant is:

(a)         in Australia; and

(b)         unable to depart Australia as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; and

(c)         either:

(i) the holder of a temporary visa that is 28 days or less from ceasing to be in effect; or

(ii) was the holder of a temporary visa that ceased to be in effect not more than 28 days before the application for a Subclass 408 visa is made; and

(d)         unable to make a valid application, or meet the Schedule 2 criteria, for:

(i)   a visa of the same Subclass as the visa mentioned in paragraph (c); or

(ii) a temporary visa of any other Subclass other than a Subclass 408 visa.

This visa is very limited in its offering but necessarily just to those critical sectors currently listed on the immigration web site. The explanatory statement of the legislation states;

The purpose of the instrument is also to implement a measure to respond to workforce shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to areas including, but not limited to, agriculture, aged care and public health. The instrument is designed to allow holders of temporary visas who are engaged in or have the relevant skills to undertake critical work relating to supply of essential goods and services, provided the applicant falls within the class of persons specified by the instrument.

It is not designed for all temporary residents. The employer/sponsor does not need to have sponsorship approval, unlike the other 408 streams. There is no mention of how many hours you need to work for the key term is, “Participate in Government endorsed event”. There is also no need to be employed before the visa is applied for.

Need to learn more if you’re suited for this visa? If you need professional advice or representation give us a call to book a consultation to speak one of our highly experienced migration specialists. Call +61 2 8054 2537 or book online. We now only consult over the telephone and Skype via booked appointments.

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Jee Eun Han