Australia’s Home Affairs has announced that, effective September 2, 2023, the Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408) Australian Government endorsed events (COVID‑19 Pandemic Event) will close to new applicants.
From that date this visa will only be available to people who already hold a Pandemic Event visa. These visa holders may be eligible for a subsequent visa until the visa is closed to all applications on February 1, 2024.
The Australian Government introduced the Pandemic Event visa in April 2020 to enable temporary visa holders to remain in Australia lawfully while the border was closed. It also addressed labour shortages in critical sectors in the local economy.
Existing Pandemic Event visa holders
- The announcement does not change the visa expiry date of existing Pandemic Event visa holders.
- Pandemic event visa holders may be eligible for a subsequent visa for up to 6 months on or after September 2, 2023. This will apply until the visa is closed to all applications on February 1, 2024.
- Visa applications made on or after September 2, 2023, will receive a visa stay period of up to 6 months if granted. This will give visa holders time to consider their options.
- From September 2, 2023, Pandemic Event visa holders are only eligible for a further visa if, at time of application, their current visa is expiring within 28 days or less, and they have a job or job offer in Australia. From September 2, 2023, applications will include a VAC of $405. There is also a visa charge for each family member included in the application.
- Pandemic Event visa holders with a visa expiring after February 2024 will not be eligible for another Pandemic Event visa. This cohort should explore other visa options if they wish to remain in Australia or make arrangements to depart before their visa expires.
- Employers of Pandemic Event visa holders should check what the visa holder’s plans are. It is an employer’s responsibility to ensure their workers hold a visa with work rights or they risk significant penalties. Employers can check their workers’ visa conditions and period of stay using VEVO.
Other temporary visa holders
- Temporary visa holders with 90 days or less remaining on their visa, who are working or have a job offer, may continue to apply for a Pandemic Event visa prior to September 2, 2023, with a nil Visa Application Charge (VAC).
- Temporary visa holders who applied for a Pandemic Event visa before September 2, 2023, will have their applications assessed under the arrangements in place at the time they lodged their visa application. This includes their period of stay in Australia.
- Temporary visa holders no longer eligible for a Pandemic Event visa may need to consider other visa options to remain in Australia or make arrangements to depart.
Erickson Insights and Analysis
Erickson Immigration Group will continue to monitor developments and share updates as more news is available. Please contact your employer or EIG attorney if you have questions about anything we’re reporting above or case-specific questions.