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If your stay in Australia has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, you may benefit from this visa. Since it’s a new arrangement, you may want to know something more about this new visa and check whether you qualify for it. We’ve listed the main official criteria. But, always make sure to check with the Department of Home Affairsexternal icon as the situation may change quickly. 

If you have no other visa options and are unable to depart Australia due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, this visa lets you remain in Australia. You can also include family members on this visa. If you have a COVID-19 Pandemic visa, work rights will be limited to those who continue working in a critical sectors such as: 

  • agriculture 

  • health care 

  • aged care 

  • disability care 

  • child care

IELTS during COVID-19

The majority of our Australian IELTS test centres have commenced testing again. Please note these test centres will operate in a restricted manner, ensuring that all COVID-19 requirements are being met. 

Frequently asked questions for subclass 408 (COVID-19 Pandemic)

I currently hold a visitor visa or other visa without work rights. Can I apply for the Subclass 408 instead of another visitor visa? 

One of the criteria for the COVID-19 visa (subclass 408) is that you “must seek to remain in Australia to undertake work directly associated with the COVID-19 pandemic”. So, if you apply for the COVID-19 visa but you currently have a visa without work rights, you should accompany the application with strong evidence that: 

  • You either have a skill set highly relevant to a critical sector or 

  • You have a critical sector employer actively willing to engage you on visa grant 

I currently hold a visitor visa or other visa without work rights. Can I apply for the Subclass 408 instead of another visitor visa? 

One of the criteria for the COVID-19 visa (subclass 408) is that you “must seek to remain in Australia to undertake work directly associated with the COVID-19 pandemic”. So, if you apply for the COVID-19 visa but you currently have a visa without work rights, you should accompany the application with strong evidence that: 

  • You either have a skill set highly relevant to a critical sector or 

  • You have a critical sector employer actively willing to engage you on visa grant 

How long you can stay on a Subclass 408 COVID-19 visa? 

This is a special visa. However, it allows multiple entries. Yet, you need to be aware of travel restrictions that are in place. See COVID-19 and the border.external icon 

The Department may grant you this visa for the duration of the event or up to 4 years. You can travel to and from Australia as many times as you want while the visa is valid and travel restrictions are not in place. If you apply in Australia, the visa starts the day we grant it. If you apply outside Australia, the visa stay period starts the day you enter Australia on the visa. Generally, your visa grant letter will tell you how long you can stay. 

Which are critical sectors for the COVID-19 visa? 

Critical sectors as highlighted in the COVID-19 pandemic visa include agriculture, food processing, health care, aged care, disability care, and childcare. So, if you work in one of these sectors but don’t qualify for any other visa and can’t return to your home country, you can apply for the COVID-19 pandemic event visa. 

Also, if you are a seasonal worker visa holders and your visa expires within 28 days, you may be eligible for the COVID-19 visa. However, if you work in critical sectors and are applying for the COVID-19 visa, you must provide evidence of work when submitting the visa application. 

Do I need an IELTS test for my COVID-19 visa? 

There are a number of requirements for this visa. You can check all of them hereexternal icon. But, it does not look like you need an English language proficiency test to qualify for this visa. Most other visas do require this.

Student and COVID-19 Visa

The Australian Government takes a flexible approach in relation to student visa conditions where COVID-19 restrictions have prevented conditions being met, such as attendance at class or the use of online learning. 

Under Australian migration law, it is not possible to extend a Student visa. So, you need to apply for a new visa if: 

  • you cannot return to your home country and your visa is expiring, or 

  • you need more time in Australia to complete your course 

You should apply for a new Student visa six weeks before your existing Student visa expires. There is no need to provide evidence of the impacts of COVID-19 with your Student visa application. 

So, if your study in Australia is ending, you can apply for a Visitor visa (subclass 600). You need to do this before your Student visa expires.

Staying in Australia for study?

Are you looking to stay in Australia for education purposes? An Australian Student Visa (subclass) is your starting point. Generally, you can apply for a student visa by enrolling in: 

  • English Courses 

  • Vocational Courses 

  • University Courses 

What can you do on a Student Visa?

Study and Work in Australia 

Most student visas allow you to work for up to 40 hours every two weeks. This only applies while your course is in session. When you’re on holidays from your studies, you can work unlimited hours. If you do a Masters by research or doctorate, you can also work unlimited hours. Check your visa conditions for more information. 

Stay long-term 

A student visa will let you stay in Australia during your studies. So, you can stay in Australia as long as you are studying. Some university degrees can be 5 years long.

Travel 

On a student visa, you can travel in and out of Australia as many times as you want. This is great if you want to return home during the holidays to visit friends and family. 

Obtain an Australian diploma 

The real benefit of studying in Australia is getting a world-class education. By studying here, you can obtain an internationally recognised Diploma, Bachelor Degree or Master’s Degree. Or you can undertake a research qualification and get your PhD. Around the world, people recognise the high standards of Australian qualifications. So, an Australian education may be your ticket to a work visa. It may also let you remain in Australia as a Permanent Resident. 

Post-Graduate visa 

The Australian Government introduced a post-study work visa in 2013. It allows some international students completing an Australian degree to remain here. As a result, you can gain work experience after you graduate. Graduates of a bachelor and masters by coursework degree can apply for a two-year work visa. This increases to three years for masters by research graduates. PhD graduates can stay for four years.

Include a partner a family member 

You can include your family members and/or your partner with your student visa. This means that your family can join you in Australia while you study.