With the event of the Covid 19 pandemic, many countries had no choice but to close their borders resulting in travel restrictions. In response to the situation, the Australian Government has introduced the 408 Visas for Covid as a means of mitigating the adverse effects of the pandemic.
The pandemic and border closures has placed several temporary residents nearing the end of their stay in a difficult situation as they are unable to return to their home country and are not sure about options they have.
Apart from these issues, the pandemic also led to a heavy reliance on workers in certain critical sectors. These sectors are those that are instrumental in getting the country through the pandemic.
So in this article, we will be discussing the 408 Visa for Covid, its application process, the category of people eligible, and other necessary information.
What Is the 408 Visa?
The 408 Visa, commonly known as the Covid visa, is a type of temporary visa that allows a temporary resident to stay and work in a critical industry sector or further their stay in Australia. This visa is officially recognised as a Temporary Activity Visa (Subclass 408).
Temporary Activity Visas (Subclass 408) in general are usually endorsed by the government on the basis of the occurrence of a special event. And with the spread of the Covid-19 and its effects on the general populace, the Australian Government declared Covid-19 as a special event. As such, it can serve as the basis for issuing the Temporary Activity Visa (Subclass 408), commonly called the 408 Visas.
This Covid Visa was created for those who were in Australia during the pandemic lockdown and whose current visa had expired. Under normal circumstances, once an Australian visa expires, a person must either leave the country or apply for a new visa and remain in Australia with a bridging visa until their application is reviewed.
408 Visa Conditions
The first step to take in getting a 408 Covid visa is to check for eligibility. The Government has set certain criteria that a person must meet to successfully apply a Covid 408 Visa. These criteria are categorised into two classifications of people.
Applicants That are Stranded As a Result of the Covid 19 Travel Restrictions
For an applicant to successfully apply for the Covid 408 Visa under this category, they must:
- Be in Australia.
- Be able to explain how the travel restrictions prevented their departure.
- Have a means of maintaining adequate health insurance during their stay in Australia.
- Have 90 days or less remaining on their present visa or show that their last temporary visa has expired for not more than 28 days. They must also be unable to apply for any other visa based on their intended activity.
Applicants Working in Critical Sectors
This category is for applicants that find themselves working in critical sectors such as agriculture, aged care, disability care, health care, child care, food processing, including tourism and hospitality. For these applicants to be eligible for the 408 Covid Visa, they must:
- Have a visa that expires in 90 days or less. It could also be a visa that has expired for 28 days or less.
- Have a way to maintain adequate health insurance while in Australia
- Have proof from their employer that shows that they are currently working in a critical sector and that an Australian Citizen or permanent resident cannot take up the position.
At Immigate, we can make the process of applying for a pandemic visa easier. We’ll guide you through the application process and answer any questions you might have regarding staying in Australia.
408 Covid Visa Processing Time
Due to the pandemic, there has been a significant rise in the demand for visas. The Australian Government has also been more focused on critical aspects of governance that assist in fighting the pandemic. As such, the process of obtaining a Covid 408 Visa could take longer than usual. However, there is no fixed processing time for a Covid 408 Visa.
Nonetheless, after lodging an application for a Covid 408 Visa, the applicant will be given an associated bridging visa. This bridging visa will serve as a substitute in case their current visa expires before their application for the Covid 408 Visa is finalised.
The Validity Period of the Covid 408 Visa
An applicant working in a critical sector may be able to get a Covid 408 Visa that allows them to stay and work in Australia for up to 12 months under certain conditions. However, applicants that are not working in a critical sector might only be able to get a Covid 408 Visa that permits them to stay in Australia for about 3 months.
Can a 408 Visa be extended?
If an individual is holding a pandemic visa that is about to expire, they could be eligible to apply for another if:
- They desire to stay and continue working in a critical sector in Australia
- They are still unable to return to their home country as a result of the Covid-19 travel restriction.
408 Covid Visa Work Rights
Only applicants that are working in the critical sectors have the authorisation to work after receiving their Covid visa. Other applicants who are unable to travel to their home country as a result of travel restrictions are not allowed to work. If an applicant works without their visa, indicating that they can, it could lead to the cancellation of their visa.
Cost of the Covid-19 Pandemic Event Visa
The pandemic visa itself is free. But, there are some expenses attached in the process of securing the visa. These involve payment for health checks, police reports, and biometrics.
Contact Sydney’s Best Visa Agent
The process of applying for a new visa can be quite tedious and time-consuming. However, with the right migration agents, you can save yourself the much-needed time and energy.
At Immigate, we have years of experience in assisting immigrants who want to move to Australia, as well as those in the country who wish to extend their stay. So, if you think you qualify for the COVID-19 Pandemic Visa, our team of expert migration agents can assist you through the entire process, prepare all the necessary documents and lodge your visa application.