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.
- 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?
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.