Subclass 408 Covid-19 Visa


Who is this Visa for?

The Subclass 408 Covid-19 Visa has been introduced  by the DHA to:

  • Assist temporary residents  whose visa is about  to expire (or has recently expired), and who cannot apply for any other visa, and,
  • Whose skills are valuable to Australia during the Covid-19  pandemic.



You must:

  • Be a temporary visa holder  whose visa will expire in the next 28 days, or whose visa has expired less than 28 days ago, and
  • Be ineligible for any other visa, and
  • Be engaged in or have skills to undertake work relating to the supply of essential goods and  services
  • Have substantially complied with the conditions of your previous visa
  • Have health insurance


 Length of validity of this visa

Subclass 408 visas can be granted for up to 4 years, however, we anticipate that the length of the visa grant will not exceed six months.


It’s Cost free!

This visa has no costs. Yes, that is correct,  it’s free! Even the Subsequent Temporary Application Charge of $700 does not apply to this visa.


Full work rights

The short answer is that you may get full work rights, however this will depend on your circumstances.

The government hasn’t completely outlined how this will work but we expect to hear more over the next week or so. We will keep you updated!


Why should I apply for this visa and not another visitor/student visa/working holiday visa or other types of visas?


Visitor Visa – Costs too much and you can’t work.

A new Visitor Visa is less advantageous than the Subclass 408, Covid-19 Visa because:

A visitor visa does not allow any work rights A visitor visa will cost you at least $365, and may also attract the Subsequent  Temporary Applicant charge of $700 if it is your second temporary visa application onshore (see our recent article about the STAC here) A visitor visa is likely to only last for a three month period before you need to leave the country.


Student Visa – you may not qualify and it has reduced work rights.

You may not be eligible for a new Student Visa if you have completed your course and/or you do not have a letter of offer or COE


Working Holiday Visa – you may not have met the criteria for another one.

You may not qualify for a second or third Working Holiday Visa because you have not completed the relevant regional work.


Subclass 485 Visa – you can only have one.

If your Subclass 485 Visa is about to expire and you do not qualify any other visa, this visa is a good option – particularly if the work you are able to do will contribute towards work experience for another type of visa in the future.


Other Visa types – a case by case scenario.

The Subclass 408, Covid -19 Visa will be the appropriate choice for many other visa holders whose visas are about to expire or those whose visa has expired less than 28 days ago – provided you meet the criteria above for the visa.


What are “essential services” or “critical work” as described by the Prime Minister?

Weirdly, the government has not spelt out what “essential services” or “critical work” is for the purposes of this Subclass 408 Covid-19 Visa.

The government has however published a list of “non-essential” services which you can find here.


Does this list mean that everything that is not included is “essential”?

We’re not sure because to date we have not had any Covid-19 visas granted, because it’s such a new visa – nor is there any DHA policy yet.

We have lodged several applications already though, and will have better idea soon (watch this space).

Each state and territory has augmented the “essential” list a little and some have clearly stated that certain industries or work are essential.

NSW has for example, stated that construction is “vital” and it is generally agreed that all building trades are essential. The Prime Minister has also stated that everyone who is employed is “essential”

One thing that is clear though, is that Public Health, Aged Care, Supermarkets and Agriculture are definitely essential.


Our optimistic view of “essential” industries and “critical” work

We think that if your employment is ongoing and you are “needed”, or you have skills that are needed in an ongoing, still operating industry – not deemed to be “non-essential”, then you will qualify for this visa type.

At a stretch, we are also optimistic that even if you have been stood down as e.g. a chef/hospitality worker, and your visa is about to expire, you will still be able to apply for this visa successfully, to enable you to pick up your employment again as soon as this crisis is over – and to allow the economy to bounce back as soon as possible.


In any event, it is better to have a refused Subclass 408 visa application than a granted Visitor visa!


Because if you have your Subclass 408 visa application refused, you may have work rights, or be able to apply for work rights while you await review of your application by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) on a Bridging Visa A. While the cost of an appeal to the AAT is $1764, this pathway may be more suitable for some visa applicants who wish to be able to remain in Australia for longer than 3 months and be able to work during this time.





Wow working with AHWC was amazing experience. They’re really professional in immigration matters, not like others making false claim for professionalism. Our case was complicated due to my and my partner age difference. But the AHWC handle case so professionally and we got 309 visa within 1 year and we got our 801 permanent partner visa just within 2 months after applying . It was amazing . 
Noor Fatima, Google Review