Reviving Australia’s Economy through Changes to the COVID-19 408 Visa

Overview

On Wednesday, 2 March 2022, the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, Alex Hawke, announced changes to Australia’s visa scheme that will work to enhance our economic recovery.

The COVID-19 Pandemic Event (Subclass 408) Visa eligibility has been broadened to include all sectors of the Australian economy. This visa subclass was initially introduced for working holiday makers who were employed in critical sectors and were unable to leave Australia due to travel restrictions.

The changes announced will allow temporary visa holders working in any sector of the Australian economy to access the COVID-19 Pandemic Event visa without incurring a Visa Application Charge for a 6 month or 12-month period. Currently, the COVID-19 Pandemic Event visa is only available to those who work in the following sectors:

The broadened eligibility is only applicable to visa applications made on or after 21 February 2022.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must be:

Eligible applicants can apply for a COVID-19 Pandemic Event Visa and this will allow those working in one of the critical sectors above to remain in Australia for a further 12 months OR those working in any other sector of the Australian economy to remain in Australia for a further 6 months.

For COVID-19 visa related travel questions / 408 visa eligibility you can book a time here:

https://visaenvoy.as.me/covid19 (25 min)

Skilled-Recognised Graduate (Subclass 476) visa holders

Eligible Skilled-Recognised Graduate (Subclass 476) visa holders who lost time in Australia as a result of COVID-19 international border restrictions will have their visas extended for 24 months. This visa allows recent engineering graduates to live, work or study in Australia. This will provide eligible visa holders with the usual length of the visa (18 months), plus an additional 6 months.

Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alex Hawke said this would allow current and former Skilled-Recognised Graduate visa holders to enter, or remain in, Australia until April 2024.

“This measure recognises the importance of qualified engineers to Australia’s economy, particularly as we continue to manage the COVID-19 recovery,” Minister Hawke said.

“Australia’s international border opened to fully vaccinated Student, Temporary Graduate and Skilled-Recognised Graduate visa holders from 15 December 2021,” he said.

There are several thousand Skilled-Recognised Graduate visa holders who lost time in Australia due to travel restrictions. The extension is expected to take effect in April 2022, subject to amendments to the Migration Regulations 1994, and eligible visa holders will be notified directly by the Department of Home Affairs of the extension of their visa and may arrive in Australia after this occurs. It will also apply to people whose visas have already expired, providing they were unable to use the full length of their original visa due to COVID-19 international travel restrictions.

Training (Subclass 407) visa holders

Due to current workforce shortages, the Government is temporarily extending this arrangement by removing the limit on secondary Training (subclass 407) visa holders’ working hours across all sectors of the economy.

This measure takes effect immediately for existing and new secondary Training visa holders, and will be reviewed in April 2022.

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