The Australian Government have announced a new stream for a subclass 408 visa which is referred to as the COVID-19 Pandemic stream.
There is no application fee for the sc408 visa application under this stream. To be eligible you must be:
- in Australia and unable to depart as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; and
- the holder of a temporary visa that is 28 days or less from ceasing (or have held a temporary visa which ceased in the 28 days prior to application); and
- unable to make a valid application, or meet the Schedule 2 criteria for a visa of the same type as you hold (or held in the last 28 days) or temporary visa of any other subclass other than a 408 visa.
The explanatory statement suggests that the applicant must be part of the response to workforce shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to areas including, but not limited to, agriculture, aged care and public health. They should be engaged in or have the relevant skills to undertake critical work relating to supply of essential goods and services.
Details are available here: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/temporary-activity-408/australian-government-endorsed-events
However, we recommend seeking legal advice on your eligibility before lodging an application as there is limited information available about this stream at this time.