ABOUT THE COVID VISA
The Covid visa (408 visa) is a temporary visa allowing you to come and stay in Australia to participate in events that have been endorsed by the Australian Government.
The COVID-19 Pandemic event is a specific stream which was created in April 2020 allowing you to remain in the country if you are not able to depart Australia due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, or to continue working in critical sectors. Find out more information here.
LENGTH OF STAY
A further stay up to 12 months with multiple entries (however travel restrictions apply). The Covid visa starts the day it is being granted.
1) You have to be in Australia when you apply
2) Have your current visa expiring in less than 28 days or have a visa expired less than 28 days ago.
3) either have evidence from an employer in a critical sector (including agriculture, food processing, health care, aged care, disability care and child care) that you have ongoing work with them and that an Australian citizen or Permanent resident cannot fill the position. Or prove you can’t return to your home country because of Covid and you have no other visa option.
4) maintain adequate health insurance during your stay in Australia.
1) Work limitation: You cannot work in Australia unless it’s for the company specified in the visa application. You cannot work for another employer or a different position/occupation. You cannot work for yourself on anyone else on the side.
If you stop working for your sponsor, you must tell immigration and you have 28 days to find a new sponsor and apply for another visa (and get approval for the new sponsor) or leave Australia.
2) No Further stay: once you have your 408 visa approved you will be unable to apply for any other substantive visa (except protection visa) while you are in Australia.
The no further stay condition applies on the:
– Visitor visa (subclass 600) Sponsored Family stream
– Approved Destination Scheme stream
Visitor visa (subclass 600)
– Tourist stream, if we required you to be sponsored for the visa
– Australian Working Holiday Visa (subclass 462), if you have previously held 2 subclass 462 visas
3) Let immigration know where you are living:
You must notify the Department in writing of your place of residence in Australia, 7 days before the Covid visa ceases. You must post the notification to the Central Office of Immigration in the Australian Capital Territory.
Complete and submit Form 929 – Change of address and/or passport details (PDF).
HOW TO APPLY TO THE COVID VISA
It is an online application.
At minimum, applicants must attach a high quality scanned copy of the following documents to their online AGEE application:
– Passport biodata page
– Health insurance certificate covering their period of stay in Australia
– A letter of support from the applicant’s proposed employer stating the position and location of work, a statement of why they are unable to employ Australian citizens or permanent residents and the period of proposed employment
– If an applicant’s stay in Australia will exceed 12 months in total from their first date of arrival to their intended departure, a Police Clearance Certificate(s) for any country the applicant has resided for 12 or more months in the last 10 years, immediately preceding the application lodgement date. For more information, please click here.
– Complete any applicable health assessments through a Panel Doctor as prompted through
ImmiAccount upon lodgement of your application.
APPLY FOR THE COVID VISA
Connect to your Immi account in order to apply for the visa online
408 PANDEMIC VISA SURVEY RESULTS
An independent survey has been conducted on Facebook across several backpackers groups over a period of 2 weeks. The results are the following:
23% GRANTED this Visa for 12 months
24% GRANTED this Visa for 3 months or until October
27% STILL WAITING for Over 3 months for an outcome
26% STILL WAITING but Less than 3 months for an outcome
0% REFUSED a 408 Pandemic Visa
It appears that:
- Applicants who had jobs in the Critical Sector and provide a “Letter of Engagement / Employment” from their Employer were usually given a 12 month visa.
- Demographic factors, such as country of origin or type visa (417 or 462), did not appear to contribute to the length of visa or waiting period.
- Applicants who were not employed in the Critical Sector or who had no job, were usually given a shorter visa / 3 months visa.
- Majority of the applicants have been waiting for months. Most have been waiting for in-excess of 3 months, and have been placed on a Bridging visa with work rights.
- Many applicants were happy to be on a bridging visa for as long as possible because it allowed them to continue working as with the conditions of their previous visa, and not only for the one employer.
- The majority of who have been granted the visa had “Work Limitation” condition imposed on the visa, meaning that they had to continue to work for the same employer for the duration of the visa.
- Very few (less than 10% that we are aware of) who were granted the visa, had “No further Stay” condition imposed on their visa, and many of these applicants were only given a 3 month or short visa.
- An abnormally large number of 408 Pandemic visas were granted until October. There is no definitive reason for this except some applicants may not have had jobs in the critical sector.
- We believe the majority of the information to be creditable as many members and respondents have either contacted us directly through messenger or indirectly through posts and well as providing feedback and comments either before and or after applying for this visa.
If you need assistance to apply for the COVID visa or any other visa, book a consultation with our MARRA registered agent.
Additional notes – Testimonies from former applicants to the Covid Visa:
We interviewed a few applicants. It appears that some of them have faced unexpected fees. This was Alan’s case. ‘’I applied from Brisbane for the COVID visa just before midnight, and just before my other visa expired. Unfortunately, the application was on Canberra time and when I submitted it, I was already overstayed. I had to pay AUD300 without even understanding what I was paying for’’.
Diane and David also found themselves in a costly situation, for different reasons. ‘’Already on an Australian Working Holiday Visa that was about to expire, we were hesitating between a student and a COVID visa. We finally opted for the latter from Australia. But when we applied for a student visa a few months later, we were announced a AUD 700 surcharge!”.
Unfortunately, their story is relatively common. When applying for a visa from Australia, it is important to note that any visa, as long as it’s the third one you are applying for onshore, will cost you a surcharge. If you wish to stay long term in the country and are on a budget, the COVID visa might therefore not be the best option. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need more information to make your decision, we’re always happy to help!