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The COVID-19 Pandemic Event Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408), endorsed by the Australian Government is coming to an end.

Effective September 2, 2023, the Pandemic Event visa will only be available to individuals who are currently holding this specific visa.

Those presently holding the Pandemic Event visa may be eligible for a subsequent visa until February 1, 2024, when we will close all applications for this visa.

From September 2, 2023, all other visa holders will no longer be eligible for the Pandemic Event visa.

The extension of the closure date allows employers to have more time to find new workers and give visa holders the opportunity to explore other visa options if they are eligible. They may also decide to leave Australia before their current visa expires.

The Australian Government introduced the Pandemic Event visa in April 2020, to address the closure of the borders and labor shortages in critical sectors of the local economy, allowing temporary visa holders to remain legally in Australia.

With Australia’s borders now open and the number of temporary visa holders has returned to pre-COVID-19 levels, the Pandemic Event visa is no longer necessary.

The closure of the Pandemic Event visa aligns with Australia’s well-managed migration system, promoting proper visa pathways and ensuring that temporary migrants enter and stay in the country for the intended purpose of their travel.

This measure encourages individuals to choose appropriate visa that matches the purpose of their travel and stay in Australia.

Existing Pandemic Event visa holders

The announcement does not alter the expiration date of existing Pandemic Event visas.

Starting from September 2, 2023, Pandemic Event visa holders may qualify for a subsequent visa for a maximum period of six months. This provision will remain in effect until the visa is closed to all applications on February 1, 2024.

Visa applications submitted on or after September 2, 2023, will be granted a stay period of up to six months if approved. This will allow visa holders ample time to consider their options.

Beginning September 2, 2023, Pandemic Event visa holders are only eligible for another visa if their current visa is expiring within 28 days or less at the time of application, and they have a job or job offer in Australia. Starting from September 2, 2023, applications will include a Visa Application Charge (VAC) of $405. Additionally, there will be a visa fee for each family member included in the application.

Pandemic Event visa holders whose visas expire after February 2024 will not qualify for another Pandemic Event visa. This group should explore alternative visa options if they wish to remain in Australia or make arrangements to depart before their visa expires.

Employers of Pandemic Event visa holders should ascertain their workers’ plans. It is the responsibility of employers to ensure that their employees possess a valid visa with work rights, as failure to do so may result in significant penalties. Employers can verify their workers’ visa conditions and length of stay using VEVO (Visa Entitlement Verification Online).

Other temporary visa holders

Temporary visa holders who have 90 days or less remaining on their visa and are currently employed or have a job offer can still apply for a Pandemic Event visa before September 2, 2023, without being charged a Visa Application Charge (VAC).

For temporary visa holders who submitted their Pandemic Event visa application prior to September 2, 2023, their applications will be evaluated based on the rules and regulations in effect at the time of their application, including the duration of their stay in Australia.

Temporary visa holders who are no longer eligible for a Pandemic Event visa should consider exploring alternative visa options to remain in Australia or make appropriate arrangements to depart from the country.