*UPDATED* Covid-19 408 Pandemic Event Visa

The Government has introduced a new 'pandemic event' stream of the 408 temporary activity visa.

By Joy Hay – Registered Migration Agent MARN 1465325

The Government has introduced a new stream of the 408 temporary activity visa, enabling temporary workers employed in critical sectors to remain lawfully in Australia during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis.

Covid-19 pandemic event for subclass 408 (temporary activity) visa

The idea of this new visa is to provide a pathway for people who cannot leave Australia, aren’t eligible for other visa types and work in critical sectors such as agriculture, nursing, aged care and supermarket retail roles.

Two main purposes of this visa:

  1. Ensuring that industries and occupations critical or essential during the pandemic can be staffed by sufficiently skilled workers
  2. Making sure that people remain lawful if they a) cannot leave Australia and b) have no other visa options


You must meet requirements which include the following:

  • Be in Australia
  • Hold a visa that expires within the next 28 days
  • Or held a visa that expired no longer than 28 days ago
  • Be unable to apply for another temporary visa
  • Be part of the ‘response to workforce shortages during the Covid-19 pandemic’ working in areas that include, but are not limited to, agriculture, health and aged care
  • Have health insurance
  • Have complied with the conditions of your previous visa
  • Be able to support yourself and any dependents
  • Meet character requirements

Work rights

If you are seeking work rights on this 408 visa, you must provide a submission that includes:

  • A detailed job offer (you can be currently employed or seeking to be employed)
  • A statement from your employer (or proposed employer) outlining the nature of their industry and occupations (critical and/or essential), why your skills are required and why no Australian will be displaced by your employment
  • A current CV showing that you have the skills to undertake the critical or essential work
  • A verifiable statement outlining why you are unable to depart Australia
  • A summary of why you cannot make a valid application for a different temporary visa according to Schedule 2 of the Migration Regulations

We can assist you with preparing this submission, working with you and the employer.

Definition of ‘essential services’ and ‘critical work’

There is no definitive list of essential or critical industries or jobs (other than aged care, supermarkets, agriculture and public health). Visa holders working in ongoing positions (or with skills applicable to an ongoing, operating business that have NOT been deemed as “non-essential”) may qualify for the 408 visa.

If your 408 visa is granted with work rights, you can only work for one employer. If you wish to change employers, you would need to apply for a new 408 visa.

How long does the pandemic event 408 visa last?

Although a 408 visa can be issued for four years, it is expected that a Covid-19 pandemic event 408 (temporary activity) visa will be issued for 6 – 12 months. Once Covid-19 is no longer deemed to be a pandemic (per announcement from the World Health Organisation – WHO), you would have 28 days to depart Australia or lodge another visa.

The Government will reportedly consider each application on a case-by-case basis, taking the applicant’s country of origin and circumstances into account.

Visa application charge

There is no Government fee for this visa.

Working with True Blue Migration Services

True Blue Migration can manage your 408 application. The benefits of working with us are:

  • We have been in business for 13 years and have a team of six migration agents
  • We know the intricacies of Australian immigration law
  • We have successfully managed hundreds of visa cases

Our fee to manage a Covid-19 pandemic event 408 (temporary activity) visa is $880 and it is paid upfront.

Alternative visa options

As we said, this visa isn’t for everyone. There are restrictions in terms of where you can work and it’s designed to be an option for people who cannot apply for an alternative visa.

There may be a better option for you such as a student visa, partner visa or regular employer-sponsored visa.

Impact of a 408 visa refusal

You can appeal a refused 408 visa within 21 days of the decision. The appeal cost is $1,764. At the current time, 408 appeals take approximately 612 days to be assigned to the AAT for assessment. You would remain in Australia on a Bridging Visa A during the processing time of the AAT. However, if your 408 visa is refused whilst you are on a Bridging Visa, you will be barred from lodging another visa whilst in Australia (with rare exceptions).

If you are considering lodging another visa in the future whilst in Australia (such as a partner visa, student visa, sponsored visa or skilled visa), you need to make sure you get the 408 application right.

Free assessment

Wondering whether you’re eligible for this visa type? Our Registered Migration Agents can assess your eligibility for free. Contact us today to discuss your visa options.

Get in touch now to find out how we can help you contact us