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COVID visa’s closing update

Not too long ago, I shared the news about the Department not cancelling the visa SC408 COVID stream, as we read about new rules in an urgent letter just one day before it took effect.

From 2 September 2023 to 1 February 2024, the visa SC 408 COVID stream will only be available for extension purposes for current 408 visa holders. This stream will be entirely closed on 1 February 2024.

Let’s summarize what we have for today:

  • Applications for the visa 408 COVID stream submitted on or before 1 September 2023, will be processed under the old legislation – 12 months for standard cases and 2 years for graduate visa holders.
  • All applications lodged on or after 2 September 2023 will incur a Visa Application Charge (VAC) of AUD 405 (single applicant)
  • At the time of application, you must hold a Pandemic event visa that expires in 28 days or less, rather than the previous 90 day period.
  • All visa applications lodged on or after 2 September 2023, if granted, will have a stay period in Australia of up to 6 months
  • your Pandemic Event visa will remain valid until its expiry or you are granted another visa.

Why Is the COVID Visa Closing?

The Pandemic Event visa was introduced in April 2020 to enable temporary migrants to lawfully remain in Australia while the border was closed. It also addressed labour shortages in critical sectors in the local economy. Today, Australia’s borders are open, and all temporary visas have been restored, so the COVID visa is no longer needed.

The cancellation of the COVID visa is expected to strengthen the visa system, making it more transparent, and providing better protection for temporary workers. For example, employers will no longer be able to avoid sponsorship obligations, and international students will remain enrolled in the courses upon arrival.

Our Advice for Subclass 408 Visa Holders Wishing to Stay in Australia:

  • First and foremost, double-check the validity and conditions of your current visa using the free VEVO-check service.
  • Don’t forget to extend your visa (if eligible) – you should ensure you remain lawful if you wish to stay in Australia. You will be able to apply for a subsequent Pandemic Event visa after 2 September 2023, up until the visa is fully closed on 1 February 2024, as long as at the time of application you have 28 days or less remaining on your Pandemic Event visa.
  • Consider the possibility of obtaining work experience in Australia relevant to your occupation, so you can use it for future skilled migration.
  • Assess your chances for skilled visas 189/190/491 using the free Point test calculation service.
  • Bear in mind the opportunity to find an Australian partner and apply for a partner visa.
  • Check the possibility of obtaining a employer sponsored visa SC 186/482/494 with your current employer or explore sponsorship options with new potential employers.
  • A student visa may become the least promising option – there is a high risk of refusal if you have been in Australia on other temporary visas for a long time.

Guys, perhaps this news about COVID visa is an unpleasant surprise to many of you. We are here to help each of you to find your best migration pathway and stay in Australia!

You can book a personal consultation with our experienced migration agents, Yulia Moiseeva and Olga Grinevetskaya and use every day in Australia as efficiently as you can to get closer to your migration goal. Please, book your appointment for a strategic consultation via our booking system.

You can ask me questions at any time.

Just email me at office@yuliamoiseeva.com.au and describe your migration issues!

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