Phasing Out the 408 Pandemic Visa

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September 26, 2023

The Australian Government is working to streamline and simplify our visa processes, resulting in several changes that we have seen over the past year. They recently announced changes to the 408 Pandemic Visa.

What is the 408 Pandemic Visa?

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian government introduced a special visa to assist international students and other visa holders stranded in the country. It allowed people to work unlimited hours for 12 months, to help fill labour shortages and to provide security to students and graduates in an uncertain time. People employed in the following sectors were also able to apply for the 408 visa to help fill critical shortages that worsened over the pandemic:

 

  • Aged Care
  • Disability Care
  • Child Care
  • Health Care
  • Food Processing
  • Agriculture

When is the 408 Visa Being Phased Out?

The 408 Pandemic Visa is finally being phased out. The Department of Home Affairs notes that they are providing an opportunity for those who hold a Pandemic Event Visa to explore other visa options or plan to leave Australia. From 2 September 2023, this visa will only be open to applications from existing holders. A renewal of this visa will cost applicants $405 in Government lodgement fees and only be valid for 6 months from the date of grant, while all other visa holders are now ineligible for the Pandemic Event Visa. From February 2024, this visa will be closed to all applicants. 

What Alternative Options Are There for 408 Visa Holders?

There are a variety of possible alternative options available to 408 Visa Holders:

    • Student or Graduate Visa: If you are studying or are a recent graduate who was on a 408 Visa, you may be eligible to shift into a student or graduate visa subclass.
  • Employer Sponsorship Visa: If you have eligible skills, you may be able to obtain an Employer Nominated Scheme Subclass 186 visa.
  • Permanent Residency: The 408 visa had no direct path to permanent residency, but the visa did provide a way for holders to gain vital work experience that can count towards PR points. Shifting into a visa with a PR pathway can set you on your way to obtaining your permanent residency in Australia.

What Next for Visa Changes?

Over the course of 2023, the Australian government has shut down other pandemic-era policies, like unlimited work hours for international students and work exemptions for Working Holiday Visa holders. As the government works to streamline and simplify our visa processes, we are likely to continue seeing a range of visa changes and updates. To keep afloat of all the changes that are occurring, and to make sure you stay on top of your requirements, speak to the experienced migration team at Australia Migrate and book a consultation today.

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