Special Program

Subclass 408Temporary Activity Visa, Special Program lets you stay in Australia to take part in an approved special program. Special programs can include youth exchange, cultural enrichment or community programs, school language assistants or “gap year school volunteering “.

With the Special Program Stream you can:

  • Take part in a special program in Australia to exchange culture, knowledge and social experiences
  • Stay in Australia for usually up to 12 months with members of your family unit
  • Apply for the visa in or outside Australia, but not in immigration clearance

You must

  • have an invitation to participate in an approved special program
  • be supported or sponsored depending on your circumstances

Family members who apply for the visa with you must also meet our health and character requirements.

With this visa, you can
  • stay in Australia for usually up to 12 months
  • travel to and from Australia as many times as you want
  • include members of the family unit in your visa application

This activity aims to enhance international relations and cultural exchange by allowing people to share cultural and social experiences and knowledge in the Australian community through participation in activity-specific programs.

Cultural exchange should be the main purpose of the program.

There are 4 special program types under this visa.

Cultural enrichment or community benefits program

Other Programs

This program type lets you take part in activities in Australia to exchange ideas, beliefs, rituals, customs and traditions with people of different or similar ethnic or social backgrounds.

We encourage approved Australian organisations to promote these exchanges to foster mutual understanding and tolerance in the Australian community.

The program should last between 3 and 12 months.

Your activities might include:

  • learning about Australian Indigenous languages and cultures
  • pastoral care, religious teaching or evangelism
  • social research, environmental conservation or outdoor education
  • teaching other languages and cultures
  • volunteering with a charity to do outreach work

You can’t undertake training or tourism as your primary activity.

Your sponsor must sign a special program agreement with us.

School Language Assistants program

This program type lets you assist an Australian language teacher at an Australian school for up to 12 months.

You must intend to pursue a career in teaching.

You must only work as a teaching assistant at the school. You will assist qualified Australian language teachers in language and cultural matters.

The Australian school does not need a special program agreement with us.

School-to-school Interchange program

This program lets you to come to Australia as a school assistant for up to 12 months.

You must have recently completed your schooling and be on a gap year before starting work, further studies or training.

You will work as a voluntary assistant. You will not replace qualified teaching staff or take formal classes by yourself.

Your home school (usually a boarding school) does not need a special program agreement with us

Youth exchange program

This program allows for stay in Australia for between 3 and 12 months to partcipate in a youth exchange program. Your sponsor must be part of a broader organisation that sends young Australians overseas for a similar experience. Your sponsor must have a Special Program Agreement with us.

The program should usually last between 3 and 12 months.

Your home organisation must allow an Australian to have a similar experience in a foreign country.

Your sponsor must sign a special program agreement with us.

You need a supporter

You don’t need a sponsor to apply for this visa if you:

  • apply outside Australia, and
  • intend to stay for less than 3 months

You must have a supporter to apply for this visa.

You need a sponsor

You need a sponsor to apply for this visa if you:

  • apply in Australia, or
  • apply outside Australia and intend to stay for more than 3 months

Costs: $325

Processing times: 35 – 50 days


Book a consultation for a commitment free briefing with our Registered Migration Agents in Melbourne to find more about your visa options.