Temporary (subclass408) Visa Introduced to Bridge Employment Decline in Australia - 2022

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Aishwarya Bhatnagar
Study Abroad Expert
New Delhi, Updated on Sep 5, 2022 12:49 IST
Temporary (subclass408) Visa

Amidst the pandemic, Australia has witnessed a 68% decline in its workforce in 2021. The quarterly difference is close to a fall of 6.7% in employment rate from March 2021 to September 2021. In order to cater the functioning of all sectors, the Australian Home Affairs Department has decided to introduce COVID-19 Pandemic (subclass 408) visa for student visa holders who wish to work in Australia beyond 40 hours per fortnight either prior to their course commencement or while pursuing their course.  

Read: Countries abroad consider lifting travel ban amid COVID-19 

This visa is introduced to bridge the employment gap in 2022 which was witnessed in the year 2021. These visa relaxations are temporary for its student visa holders in Australia to work beyond 40 hours per fortnight. The Department of Home Affairs of Australia in consequence advises international students to strike a balance between study and work while holding the Temporary (subclass 408) visa by: 

  • Maintaining their course enrollment under any circumstance. 
  • Also maintaining a good level of attendance. 
  • And, ensuring that the course progression is beyond satisfactory.  

Failing to fulfil the above requirements, the international students studying in Australia under a student visa may be considered breaching the visa rules.  

Check: Requirements for getting a student visa in Australia 

Those students who have received an employment offer during their course or after finishing it in a critical sector, would be eligible to apply for a COVID-19 Pandemic (subclass 408) visa. Applications for this visa can be submitted 90 days prior to the student visa expiration date. In addition to this, students will be allowed to stay in Australia for 12 more months after the work visa application is accepted and of course once the student visa expires. 

Read: Post Study Work Permit in Australia 

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The employers in addition are advised to follow the employment law as international workers have equal rights as per Australian employment law applicable for other workers. To guarantee a smooth functioning of these relaxations, the Department of Home Affairs & Australian Border Force would: 

  • Not be able to cancel visas of students working beyond 40 hours every fortnight to support them as per the section 116(1)(b) of the Migration Act 1958. 
  • Not accuse any international student visa holder for any offence as per s235 of the Migration Act 1958. 
  • Also not be able to refer to any other employer for investigating the student holding a visa under s245AC of the Migration Act 1958. 

The employers will have to ensure the above points while these temporary relaxations are in force, else it might be considered as breaching the visa rules by international students. 

Read: Reasons for Visa Rejection in Australia 

Since the beyond 40 hours per fortnight for international student visa holders is a temporary relaxation, yet it is valid for now upto April 2022 until new updates are rolled out. Along with this relaxation, international students holding a student visa travelling to Australia between January 19, 2022 to March 19, 2022 will be eligible for a visa application fee refund. The application for fee refund requests will be accepted till December 19, 2022.  

Why study in Australia? 

Student Guide to Australia 

Top Universities in Australia 

Cost of Studying in Australia 


Where can I apply for a visa application fee refund?

The Australian Home Affairs Department would soon release the link for submitting applications for visa application fee refund for those who had already submitted the application. But those who recently submit the application will have to select ‘ye’ for visa and ‘Nil VAC’ in the charge concession. Read:  Types of Student Visas in Australia

Will these temporary relaxations for beyond 40 hours per fortnight discontinue after April 2022?

For now, since January 19, 2022 the beyond 40 hour per fortnight (temporary relaxation) is in force. The next update on this is expected to be released in April 2022 which would have a final decision of continuation or discontinuation.

What are critical skills and sectors in Australia?

Critical skills and sectors in Australia are those sectors which work towards recovering Australia’s economy in areas of Tourism, Hospitality, Agriculture, Food Processing, Health / Aged / Disability / Child Care, etc. Check:  Popular Job Sectors in Australia

Which sectors of Australia were first introduced with COVID-19 Pandemic (subclass 408) visa?

The Tourism & Hospitality sectors of Australia were the initial ones to be introduced to COVID-19 Pandemic (subclass 408) visa. These sectors together employ over half a million employees in Australia and hence, due to the lack of workforce this measure was introduced to employ more workers and extend services falling under these sectors.

What is the fee for COVID-19 Pandemic (subclass 408) visa application?

International students will have to pay AUD 630 while submitting an application for COVID-19 Pandemic (subclass 408) visa. This fee would be refunded once the portal is activated by Australian DHA for students travelling between Jan 19 - March 19, 2022 in Australia.

If my student visa expires before I receive the subclass 408 visa, will I be deported?

If your student visa expires before you receive your COVID-19 Pandemic (subclass 408) visa then you will be given a bridging visa which would be applicable until you receive your subclass 408 visa officially.

What should applicants of subclass 408 visa ensure before applying?

Applicants applying for the COVID-19 Pandemic (subclass 408) visa must ensure that they stay in Australia, not forget to apply online, avoid breaching visa rules and must maintain good health and consequently their health insurance as well.
About the Author
Aishwarya Bhatnagar
Study Abroad Expert

A passionate writer and a literature fanatic, Aishwarya Bhatnagar has 4+ years of experience - working in EdTech with a strong focus on studying abroad. She holds a postgraduate degree in Linguistics from Delhi Univ... Read Full Bio


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