Australia Ends Pandemic Event Visa Program: A Guide for Prospective Immigrants

Australia Ends Pandemic Event Visa Program

Australia's Pandemic Event Visa program has ended! Get the latest updates on what this means for existing visa holders, alternative visa options, and the future of Australian immigration. Explore your options today! The Australian Government officially ceased accepting new applications for the Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408), known as the COVID-19 Pandemic Event visa, on February 1, 2024.

In an additional statement, the government added that this program was crucial in mitigating labour shortages in the central sectors of the local economy in addition to facilitating the temporary residents' lawful presence.

The Pandemic Event visa has been judged superfluous, as Australia's borders are entirely open & the number of temporary visa holders has returned to pre-COVID-19 levels. It is recommended that visa holders make arrangements for their continuous legal stay in Australia, as reverting to an unlawful status could affect their ability to enter the nation.

Where Can Visa Holders Verify Their Visas?

Australia’s Visa Eligibility Verification Online System (VEVO)

The government advises visa holders to confirm the terms and validity of their visas by using the Visa Eligibility Verification Online (VEVO) system. Furthermore, those who remain in Australia without a legal visa run the possibility of being detained, having their passports revoked, and maybe having to pay the Australian government's deportation expenses. Before February 1, 2024, the Department will still handle visa applications.

People with questions concerning expired or pending visas are advised to contact the Department's Status Resolution Service immediately. They can do so over the phone or online via the Status Resolution Service.

Why is the Pandemic Event Visa Program Closing?

To permit temporary migrants, including international students, to remain in Australia during the COVID-19 travel restrictions, the Pandemic Event visa was introduced in April 2020. Australia is open for business; thus, a Pandemic Event visa is no longer necessary. Holders of Pandemic Event visas can use this notice to plan for the expiration of their existing visa.

Impact on Existing Visa Holders

The current pandemic event visa will be in effect until it expires or until a new one is obtained. Applicants who determine they meet the requirements may apply for a second pandemic event visa, with a six-month maximum extension. The application deadline is September 2, 2023, and ends on February 1, 2024, when visas are closed.

How Much to Apply for a Subsequent Pandemic Event Visa?

Australian Dollars

A visa application charge (VAC) of AUD 405.00 must be paid for every member of the family included in the application when requesting a subsequent Pandemic Event visa. You must submit your application with 28 days or less remaining on your current Pandemic Event visa to be eligible for this extension. This flexibility allows temporary visa holders to stay longer in Australia during these difficult times by allowing them to weigh their alternatives and obtain legal status.


What happened to the Pandemic Event Visa program?

The Australian Government officially closed the Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408), the Pandemic Event Visa, to new applications on February 1, 2024. This program was introduced in April 2020 to support temporary residents during COVID-19 travel restrictions. However, the program is no longer deemed necessary with Australia's borders now fully open and pre-pandemic visa holder numbers restored.

What does this mean for existing Pandemic Event Visa holders?

Current Pandemic Event Visa holders have two options:

  • Remain in Australia until your visa expires: You can continue residing in Australia legally until your visa's validity period ends.
  • Apply for a single six-month extension: If your visa expires before February 1, 2025, you can apply for a one-time six-month extension, provided you meet the eligibility requirements and submit your application before September 2, 2023.

What are my alternative visa options to stay in Australia longer?

Several visa options cater to different needs and aspirations. Here are a few popular choices:

  • Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (Subclass 491): Ideal for skilled workers willing to live and work in regional areas of Australia.
  • Skilled Nominated visa (Subclass 190): Sponsored by an Australian state or territory for occupations on their qualified occupation lists.
  • Student visa (Subclass 500): For pursuing registered education in Australia, leading to potential work authorisation post-graduation.

What if I need clarification on which visa option is right for me?

Seeking professional immigration advice is highly recommended. Immigration consultants can assess your circumstances, qualifications, and goals to guide you towards the most suitable visa pathway.

Where can I find more information and resources?

The official Australian Government Department of Home Affairs website provides comprehensive visa information, including eligibility requirements, application processes, and fees:

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