Australia introduces a new visa for temporary workers
Posted on April 8, 2020
In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic many countries around the world have tried their best to protect the interests of immigrants living in their country. Australia with a significant number of immigrants is no exception.
The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) recently announced several changes for Temporary visa holders. It announced that Temporary visa holders who have not been laid off can retain the validity of their visa and companies will extend their visa as usual. Temporary Skilled visa holders will also be able to use their superannuation amount of up to $10,000 in this financial year.
In another significant move, on 4 April 2020, the Australian Government launched a new visa to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. This visa, classified as Subclass 408, and known as the Temporary Activity (subclass 408 Australian Government Endorsed Event (AGEE) stream) visa enables foreign nationals with temporary resident status to continue living in Australia due to the Covid-19 situation.
The main requirements of this visa are:
- Person should be physically present in Australia
- Person will assist with addressing workforce shortages in areas such as agriculture, public health and care for the aged
- Person is unable to depart because of the COVID-19 pandemic
The visa does not need an endorsement or sponsorship. Applicants do not need to have written approval to apply for a COVID-19 Pandemic event visa. The COVID-19 pandemic case visa is only applicable to people onshore who have 28 days or less left on their current visa or whose visas have expired in the last 28 days. There is no visa fee charge.
The Subclass 408 visa allows holders to come to Australia to work on a short-term basis in specific areas or activities.
Who is eligible for this visa?
Temporary Work visa holders including working holiday makers employed in critical sectors who have not completed the 3 or 6 months of specified work needed to apply for a second or third Working Holiday Maker visa and who are unable to leave Australia may be eligible for a Temporary Activity (AGEE) visa.
The visa would allow working holiday makers to live legally in Australia, and to continue working until they can return to their home country if they wish to do so.
Many already in Australia with the Seasonal Worker System whose visas are expiring will be able to prolong their stay in Australia by applying for a Temporary Operation (subclass 408 AGEE) visa.
Holders of other temporary work visas / TSS 482 visa/457 visas currently working in important sectors may also be eligible for a temporary operation (subclass 408 AGEE) visa.
With the introduction of this visa, temporary visa holders in Australia whose visas have expired or about to expire can continue to stay in the country during the Coronavirus pandemic without the fear of being forced to move out of Australia.