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408 Visa (COVID-19 Pandemic Event Visa) explained

The COVID-19 Pandemic Event Visa 408 may be able to get you an extra 12 months in the country if you’re unable to leave Australia due to COVID-19 and if you work in a critical sector.

We’ve laid out what the COVID-19 Pandemic event visa is, who it’s for and the eligibility requirements, including having adequate health insurance in place.

The 408 visa was introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic as a last resort for those living and working in Australia on temporary visas that are set to expire. If you can’t go home due to travel restrictions and you have no other visa options, the 408 can allow you to stay in Australia for an additional 12 months. At the moment, this additional 12 months cannot be extended

There’s currently no charge for the COVID-19 Pandemic event visa and depending on your situation, your family members might be able to apply to join you in Australia later as a subsequent entrant.

The 408 visa is for temporary visa holders that are due to expire who cannot apply for any other visa. It’s specifically aimed at people working in critical sectors to the Australian government at the moment, including:

  • agriculture
  • health care
  • age care
  • disability care
  • child care
  • food processing

This temporary activity visa can also include members of your family when you apply. You can also add family members to your application at any time before the Australian government makes a decision.

To qualify for the COVID – 19 Pandemic Visa – Subclass 408, you must:

  • Already be in Australia.
  • Have no more than 28 days left on your current visa (You can also apply if your previous visa expired less than 28 days ago)
  • Provide evidence that you have ongoing work in a critical sector and that it can’t be done by an Australian citizen or resident.
  • Have the financial means to support yourself and any dependents with you in Australia.
  • Meet the health requirement which may require you to do a health check.
  • Have adequate health insurance – if you don’t already have it – to ensure that you are not a burden on the Australian public health care system: Medicare.
  • Meet the government’s character requirement e.g have no criminal record.
  • Have paid any debts you owe to the Australian Government.
  • Intend to stay on a temporary basis.
  • Not have had a previous visa application rejected or cancelled.
  • Sign the Australian values statement if you’re over 18.

There are several conditions worth being aware of on this visa. These include:

  • You must remain in Australia and continue your work in one of the critical sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes medical professionals.
  • This is a temporary visa which allows multiple entries. However due to travel restrictions, you may be unable to leave Australia at this time without voiding the visa.
  • This visa only allows a further stay of up to 12 months or for whatever period of temporary stay is deemed necessary, provided you can’t get another visa and you are unable to travel home from Australia.

Yes. Like all Australian visas, you’ll need to have adequate health insurance in place. This is a common requirement set up to prevent Medicare – Australia’s public health care system – from having to cope with added financial burden. To make sure your visa is accepted, you can get Overseas Health Cover, which is widely available. If you need to get health insurance, you can begin to compare some affordable policies here.

If your country has a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia, this is usually enough to pass your visa’s health care requirement. However, it won’t cover you for things like dental care, optical and physio – which is known as extras cover here – so it’s still worth having Overseas Health Cover.

At the moment, no. This is a visa set up purely to help out those in the difficult situation of not being able to leave Australia due to travel restrictions who also work in a critical sector and are unable to go on to another visa.

Depending on how long this crisis goes on for, this situation may change. For now though, the maximum length of time you can get on this visa is 12 months. You’ll be told when you receive your visa confirmation how long yours will last for. You can however add family members to your application to join you in Australia later as a subsequent entrant.


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