Closing of Subclass 408

Closing! Temporary Activity Visa (Subclass 408)
What happens now?

The Temporary Activity Visa (subclass 408) or the Covid visa as it’s been known, was endorsed by the Australian Government in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. From 1st February 2024, this visa will be closed to all applicants.

The subclass 408 visa was established in 2020 and allowed visa holders to stay in Australia for up to 12 months. It was introduced as a provisional measure for temporary visa holders restricted by Covid-19 travel restrictions to stay in Australia to do specific types of work on a short-term basis.

Those working in non-critical sectors but didn’t have other visa options were granted a subclass 408 visa valid for up to three months.

Those working in a critical sector with evidence of employment, or an offer of employment were granted visas valid for up to 12 months. Critical sectors include:

  • Agriculture
  • Food processing
  • Health care
  • Aged care
  • Disability care
  • Childcare
  • Hospitality and tourism

It’s believed approximately 120,000 people have accessed a subclass 408 visa.

Time to Say Goodbye

On 31st August 2023, the Australian Government announced the closure of the subclass 408 visa.

Effective 2nd September 2023, applications for this visa will only be open to existing pandemic event visa holders who may be granted a further visa for up to six months only. Unlike the previous visa, which was free, a visa application charge of $405 now applies.

Current subclass 408 visa holders will need to apply for a further subclass 408 visa (if eligible), explore other visa options or return to their home country prior to their visa expiring.

Why is the Temporary Activity Visa Closing?

Now that Australia’s borders are open, there is no longer a need for this visa. In addition, there are reports that this visa was widely exploited by dishonest migration agents and international students. Given this visa allowed holders to work unlimited hours for 12 months, it provided a backdoor to the jobs market. In July 2023, it was revealed that one in six international students had transferred from their student visas to a subclass 408 visa, allowing them to work full-time.

What Happens Now?

There are tens of thousands of temporary migrants on a subclass 408 visa. Those wanting to stay in Australia will need to apply for a new visa. Whether an applicant wants to stay in Australia on a short-term or long-term basis will determine the type of visa they apply for.

Holders of the Temporary Activity Visa can consider the following visa options:

As with all visa classes and subclasses, applicants will be required to meet eligibility criteria to apply for any of these visas.

The closing of the subclass 408 visa follows the rollback of many regulations and concessions that were put in place during the pandemic.

To determine the best pathway forward after holding a subclass 408 visa, it is recommended that you speak with a registered migration agent.

If you would like to learn more about your visa options after holding a temporary activity visa or any other aspect of migration, contact the experienced team of registered migration agents at Visa Solutions Australia. Book a consultation.