Here are some of your most frequently asked questions related to the new government Covid 19 pandemic event visa, which is designed to support Australian-resident countries that have no other visa options.
It is a temporary measure that will be reviewed as the crisis progresses. However, depending on your circumstances, this may be a good option for you.
To find out more about whether this special government initiative applies to you, please read the FAQs we have compiled below and read our recently published guide.
If you have any further questions or need help applying, please contact the True Blue team for a free evaluation.
Who can apply?
- A visa holder currently in Australia
- The country cannot be left due to travel restrictions
- You still have 28 days or less on your current visa or have a visa that expired less than 28 days ago
- No other Visa subclass
- Can be proven by your employer that you are working in a critical sector
If you answered “yes” to any of the above, you may be able to apply for this visa.
- Agriculture, food processing, healthcare, care for the elderly, care for the disabled and childcare are classified as critical sectors. If you work in one of these industries, are not eligible for another visa and cannot return home, you may be able to apply for this visa
- If you have a seasonal worker program visa that expires within 28 days, you can also apply for a visa
- If you have a temporary visa that is about to expire, have no other visa options, cannot return home due to travel restrictions, and work in a critical sector, you may be eligible if you are able to prove your circumstances
- If you have no other visa options and cannot leave Australia due to Covid-19, you can apply for a last resort visa that will allow you to stay in Australia legally until the restrictions are lifted and you can return home
When should I apply?
You can apply for this visa at any time if your temporary visa expires in less than 28 days or expires no more than 28 days ago, if you have no other visa options and are unable to travel home due to Covid 19 restrictions.
Can I still apply if I am not working in a critical sector?
Yes, but only if you have no other visa options.
Will my visa be issued with labor rights?
If you work in a critical sector, you will be given permission to work on a Covid 19 pandemic event visa.
If you are not working in a critical sector, you cannot work with this visa.
Details are provided in Condition 8107 of the Pandemic Event Visa. If you do not comply with the conditions, measures can be taken to cancel your visa.
How long is the visa valid for?
If you have a seasonal work program visa, a Pacific Labor Scheme visa, or other temporary visa and work in a critical sector, your pandemic event visa can be issued for up to 12 months.
If you are not working in a critical sector, your pandemic event visa can be issued for up to 6 months.
Do I work in a critical sector?
The critical sectors currently include agriculture, food processing, healthcare, elderly care, disabled care and childcare. Before submitting an application, you should confirm whether your role is in a critical sector. If you need help with this, please contact us directly.
The government can refer to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industry Classification (ANZSIC) to determine if a job falls into a critical sector. Critical sectors can change in the wake of the Covid 19 crisis.
Do I have to submit a confirmation letter to apply for the visa?
If you are working in a critical sector and would like to continue working on a Covid 19 pandemic visa, you will need to provide proof of employment such as payslips and / or a contract or letter from your employer.
Evidence must include:
- The date of your employment
- In which critical sector do you work?
- Proof that an Australian citizen or permanent residence cannot fill the position
If you are a doctor or nurse working in the healthcare sector, you must provide proof of your medical qualifications along with a letter of employment from the hospital or clinic where you work.
If you are applying for a last resort visa, you must include a statement that explains why you cannot apply for another type of visa, why you cannot leave Australia before your current visa expires, and what measures you are taking to take it Your visa will arrange departure as soon as the restrictions are lifted and flights to your home country are available.
Can I still apply if my current visa does not imply any further residence requirements?
The “No further stay” condition is automatically lifted if you have a subclass 403 visa in the stream of the seasonal work program to which this condition is currently attached.
You do not have to apply for the waiver and can apply for the Covid 19 pandemic incident visa if you meet the eligibility requirements.
However, you must apply for the “no more stay” condition if you have another temporary visa that is linked to the “no more stay” condition and that expires in less than 28 days. You can only apply for most other visas if you do not do so. It is important that you apply for a new visa as soon as the condition is removed to prevent your current visa from expiring.
Will I be charged if I apply for this visa?
There is no government fee associated with this type of visa. True Blue Migration Services offers reduced visa administration fees for this subclass. Depending on your situation, our fees start at just $ 330.
How long does it take to process my application?
The government is working on processing visa applications as soon as possible. However, due to the high number of applications, there may be slight delays. Critical worker visas are prioritized.
If the visa you currently have expires while you are waiting for the pandemic event visa to be processed, you will receive a bridging visa that will bind you until your new visa is ready. Bridging visas apply under the same conditions as your current visa. You must submit as much evidence as possible in your application to avoid delays.
Could I be eligible for this visa if I am currently overseas?
Unfortunately, not. Only people in Australia can get this visa.
Do you need a medical exam to get this visa?
All applicants and their family members must meet certain health requirements before they can be subjected to a health check.
What else should I consider before applying for this visa?
The following points related to health insurance requirements should be considered when applying for this visa:
- You must have health insurance to cover your entire stay in Australia. This may mean extending your current health insurance policy or applying for health insurance if you don’t already have it.
- Your coverage must include all required medical treatments, including transportation.
- You will continue to be responsible for all healthcare costs during your stay in Australia. Health insurance helps to limit financial liability.
If you have any questions about adequate health insurance, please contact us. We would be happy to provide you with further information.
What should I do if I am unemployed and apply for a visa for the last resort?
The application forms have now been updated to accommodate applicants who are not working. The question of employer details is easy to ask for those applying in a critical sector.
Can I apply for a Covid 19 pandemic event visa if I currently have a bridging visa?
Yes, if you meet all the application criteria.
Please note that people who have a S-48 bar bridging visa and / or who do not have a substantial temporary visa within 28 days prior to the application will not receive a pandemic event visa.
How long does this visa last?
The validity period of this visa depends on the respective circumstances. The following viability periods apply:
Up to 12 months
Current visa holders working in critical sectors, including seasonal holders of the Seasonal Worker Program or Working Holiday Maker program.
Up to 6 months
All other applicants.
The validity period can change as the COVID 19 crisis develops (e.g. if travel bans are lifted, visa holders may have to return home).
Which industries are currently classified as critical?
The sectors currently classified as critical are agriculture, food processing, healthcare, care for the elderly, care for the disabled and childcare. As the situation progresses and the need for international labor increases or decreases, new sectors can be added and / or current sectors removed.
We hope that this FAQ list has answered most of your questions. We will keep you informed as soon as new communications from the Australian government arrive.
Please do not hesitate to contact us directly if you have any questions about the Covid 19 pandemic incident visa or your visa status in general. We currently offer free visa reviews and can recommend the best way.
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