1) Temporary relaxation of working hours for student visa holders
Student Visa holders working in the following critical sectors are now eligible to work more than 40 hours
per fortnight. Students can work for more than 1 employer at the same time, as long as they work in one of
the below critical sectors.
A Student Visa holder can work for more than 40 hours a fortnight if employed:
- in the tourism and hospitality sector in the agriculture sector
- by an aged care Approved Provider or Commonwealth-funded aged care service provider with a RACS ID or
- a NAPS ID, before 8 September 2020
- by a registered National Disability Insurance Scheme provider
- enrolled in a healthcare-related course and you are supporting the health effort against COVID-19, as
- directed by health officials
- maintain their course enrolment
- ensure satisfactory course attendance, and;
- ensure satisfactory course progress
2) Visa Subclass 408 – COVID 19: extended to Hospitality and Tourism
The Department of Home Affairs has officially included “Hospitality and Tourism” in the list of critical sectors that allow people to apply for a Temporary Activity Visa Subclass 408 – COVID 19.
With this visa you can:
1) remain in Australia if you have no other visa options and are unable to depart Australia due to COVID-19
2) remain in Australia to work up to 12 months, in the following critical sectors during the COVID-19
- Aged Care
- Tourism and Hospitality
Hospitality & Tourism Industry: NEWS
Temporary visa holders working (or intending to work = with an employment offer) in the tourism and hospitality sector, and holding a substantive visa that expires in 90 days or less (or with last substantive visa expired less than 28 days ago), can apply for a 408 Visa – COVID 19.
Important conditions at the time of application:
Applicants working in a critical sector: tourism and hospitality/food processing/health care/child care/disability care must:
– hold a substantive visa that expires in 90 days or less, or your last substantive visa expired 28 days or less ago. In other words, the application must be lodged within 90 days of your visa expiry date AND
– have evidence from an employer of your employment or an offer of employment and that an Australian citizen or permanent resident cannot fill the position. In other words, you must have a job offer / letter of employment / employment contract in an industry included in the “critical sector” list.
– You must maintain adequate health insurance during your stay in Australia
(In most cases this means having a valid and active Health Cover such as a OVC: Overseas Visitor Cover during your whole stay). Important considerations – Work Limitation – 8107 conditions (Subclass Visa 408 – Covid 19)
The condition 8107 regulates the following areas:
- The visa you hold was granted to either allow you to be employed by a particular employer, or to undertake specific activities in Australia.
- You must not stop working for your employer.
- You must not work in a different position, occupation or with another employer or for yourself.
- You must not stop doing the activity the visa was granted for.
- You must not do other activities or do the activity for yourself or anyone else.
In other words, if you are currently employed or if you want to work for more than 1 employer, you should not apply for a Subclass 408 – COVID 19 Visa, as you would be in breach of condition 8107
HOW TO APPLY for a 408 – Covid 19 Visa
- You can apply online: no visa charges (Applicants must select ‘yes’ to the visa application charge concession question in the application and select the ‘Nil VAC’ option).
- You can apply alone or with the support of a migration agent, if you prefer
- You must be in Australia
FAQs Subclass 408 – Covid 19 Visa
If I work or if I intend to work for more than 1 employer, should I apply for a 408 – COVID 19 Visa?
No – condition 8107 explicitly says you cannot work for more than 1 employer at the same time and the employer must be the one you stated in your Visa application.
Can I work with ABN?
No – condition 8107 says you cannot work for yourself (you must be employed)
Can I change my employer after I apply for a 408 COVID 19 Visa?
Yes – as long as you keep working in an employer in a critical sector and you should notify the DHA by filling form 1022 every time you change your employer to demonstrate employment in critical sector to satisfy condition 8107
Can I apply for a 408 COVID 19 Visa earlier than 90 days from my current visa expiry date?
NO – to apply you must hold a substantive visa that expires in 90 days or less (or your last substantive visa expired less than 28 days ago).
Can I cancel my COE and apply for a Subclass 408 COVID-19 Visa?
Unless your Student visa expiry date is less than 90 days, you cannot apply for a Subclass 408 Visa. This means that, if your COE gets cancelled you will be exposed to possible cancellation of your Student Visa.
Is the No Further Stay Condition always applied to a 408 subclass Visa?
NO – This is at the discretion of DHA – as far as our migration partners experienced, the 8503 NFS condition hasn’t statistically applied to most of the 408 Visa they have processed, until now.
Can I apply for a further visa after my 408 Visa expires?
Yes – unless your 408 visa includes the 8503 NFS condition, you are allowed to apply for another visa before the expiry date of your 408 Visa.
How much can I stay with a 408 Visa (visa length)?
From 3 to up to 12 months, according to the following scenarios
- If you are working/intend to work in a critical sector: the 408 Visa length may vary from some months up to 12
months. Usually, the length of your 408 visa is related to the length of the employment letter/agreement provided at
the time of the visa application.
- If you are not working in a critical sector – up to 3 months
Can I study while holding the 408 visa?
Yes, there are no limitations to study so you can enrol in the course you wish as an international student.
PROS and CONS: 408 Visa VS Student Visa (extended work rights)
Overall: both initiatives offer great opportunities and value to current temporary visa holders.
The fact that the DHA has included Hospitality & Tourism in the critical sector list is a positive sign if you are studying, working in this industries as it gives you full time work right if you are a student and the possibility to apply for a 408 Visa if your current visa is approaching to its expiry (less than 90 days).
The Student Visa and the 408 Visa – Covid 19 have different characteristics, requirements and conditions that may suit or not your goals and your personal circumstances in Australia.
Let’s consider the different scenario
- If you want to work with more than 1 employer: student visa: If you work or intend to work in a critical sector for more than 1 employer, the student visa is the only one allowing you to do it. If you hold a Student Visa and you work in a critical industry you can now work an unlimited number of hours (this includes Tourism & Hospitality).
- If you are pursuing a migration path, in some circumstances the 408 visa may be a critical choice, that you should carefully evaluate with the assistance of a migration layer.
In some circumstances your migration path may be delayed or disrupted by applying for a 408 Visa as it may delay or interfere with your migration outcome. In other circumstances, a Visa 408 may allow you to gain extra hours with the current employer, therefore help you reach work experience (482 TSS Visa work experience requirements: café’, restaurant manager, sales and marketing
if employed at a hotel etc).
We suggest that you seek advice from a migration agent before you apply for a 408 visa, unless you are confident this is not going to affect your migration path.
- If you want to work in sectors other than the critical ones: student visa.
Visa subclass 408 allows you to work just in specific critical sectors such as: tourism and hospitality – agriculture – food processing – health care – aged care – disability care – child care, whereas with a student visa you could work in
every industry you may be interested in.
- Working for the same employer: if you are not confident to work for the same employer, during your whole stay, a Student Visa may be a better option. Under condition 8107 (Work limitation), you cannot work for more than 1 employer at the same time. If your employer changes you must notify the DHA via form 1022 (every time there is a change of employer).
If working for 1 employer is not a major concern, and you work in a critical sector, you may consider applying for a
- If you don’t have a job offer, a letter of employment or an employment contract by an employer in a critical sector, a student visa may be the best option for you.
At the time of applying for a 408 in relation to the intention to work in a critical sector, you will be required to provide evidence of your current employment, or intended one (employment contract – letter of employment – job offer).
- If you are on your way to apply for a 485 Visa, applying for a 408 visa may not be the ideal solution.
- Processing times for 408 visas: variable from weeks to months When applying for a 408 COVID – 19 visa, processing time may vary from weeks to months.
Some migration agents believe that the processing times for 408 visas may increase due to the higher request in the coming months, so the waiting time on a bridging visa might be longer.
If you have identified a study pathway and you are genuinely interested in your study journey, you should apply for a student visa.
- The NFS No Further Stay Condition: like all temporary visas, both the Student and the 408 visa can be approved with the no further stay condition, which will prevent you from applying for most temporary and permanent visas while in Australia.
- If you want to work with an ABN: you should consider a Student Visa over a 408 Visa.
- If you are in financial hardship, you are not genuinely interested in studying and you are working or intend to work in a critical sector, you should apply for a 408 Visa over a Student Visa.
GO STUDY is here to help you understand the best path according to your current situation, needs and goals.
Information is sourced from Australia Government Department of Home Affairs (DHA) website Michael Sestak – MARN 0208424 – Australia Online Sydney