Temporary activity visa framework changes

The Australian Government recommends, subject to approval by the Governor-General, the introduction of reforms to the temporary activity visa framework on 19 November 2016.

From 19 November 2016, the following visas would be closed to new applications:

  • Subclass 401 Temporary Work (Long Stay Activity) visa
  • Subclass 402 Training and Research visa
  • Subclass 416 Special Program visa
  • Subclass 420 Temporary Work (Entertainment) visa
  • Subclass 488 Superyacht Crew visa.

Applications lodged before 19 November 2016 would be processed under pre-19 November 2016 legislation. These visas would be incorporated within the proposed new temporary activity visa framework.

There would be four new visa subclasses introduced from 19 November 2016:

  • Subclass 400 Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa
  • Subclass 403 Temporary Work (International Relations) visa
  • Subclass 407 Training visa
  • Subclass 408 Temporary Activity visa.

The new framework is designed to make applying for a temporary visa easier. It would reduce red tape for business, industry and individuals by removing sponsorship and nomination requirements for specific short stay activities.

What this would mean for applicants

  • a single sponsorship (temporary activities sponsor) would replace six existing sponsorship types (long stay activity, training and research, professional development, entertainment, special programme and superyacht crew)
  • if you apply for a subclass 408 Temporary Activity visa :
    • you would not need a nomination
    • you would not need to be sponsored if you applied from outside Australia and you intended to stay in Australia for three months or less
    • you would need to be sponsored if you applied from outside Australia and you intended to stay in Australia for more than three months
    • you would need to be sponsored regardless of how long you intend to stay if you applied from inside Australia
  • if you apply for a Subclass 407 Training visa, you would need a nomination and to be sponsored, regardless of how long you intend to stay. No nomination is required if the sponsor is a Commonwealth agency.

Proposed new visa framework

On 19 November 2016, the new visa subclasses would allow applicants to enter Australia for temporary work or a specified activity.

More information on eligibility for these visas will be published on this website in the coming weeks.

Subclass 400 Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa

This visa would be for people who want to come to Australia on a temporary basis to:

  • undertake short-term, highly specialised, non-ongoing work
  • in limited circumstances, participate in an activity or work relating to Australia’s interests.

Subclass 403 Temporary Work (International Relations) visa

This visa would be for people who want to come to Australia on a temporary basis:

  • in relation to a bilateral agreement
  • to represent a foreign government or to teach a foreign language in an Australian school
  • to undertake full-time domestic work for a diplomat
  • as a person with statutory privileges and immunities
  • to participate in the Seasonal Worker Programme.

Subclass 407 Training visa

This visa would be for people who want to come to Australia on a temporary basis to undertake occupational training or participate in classroom based professional development activities.

Subclass 408 Temporary Activity visa

This visa would be for people who want to come to Australia on a temporary basis to:

  • work in the entertainment industry
  • participate in a non-ongoing cultural or social activities at the invitation of an Australian organisation
  • observe or participate as an academic in a research project
  • undertake full-time religious work
  • participate in a special programme to enhance international relations and cultural exchange
  • participate in high-level sports (including training)
  • work in a skilled position under a staff exchange arrangement
  • participate in an Australian government endorsed event
  • work as a superyacht crew member
  • undertake full-time domestic work in the household of certain senior foreign executives.

Transitional arrangements

The transitional arrangements below broadly explain how sponsorship, nomination and visa applications would be processed when lodged from 19 November 2016 to 18 May 2017.

Sponsorship

From 19 November 2016, you would need to apply online for approval as a temporary activities sponsor if you want to sponsor a Subclass 407 Training visa or Subclass 408 Temporary Activity visa applicant that requires sponsorship.

Paper applications would not be available.

Sponsorship applications lodged before 19 November 2016

If you were approved before 19 November 2016 as a long stay activity, training and research, professional development, entertainment, special program or superyacht crew sponsor, you would be able to use this approval to sponsor a Subclass 407 Training visa or Subclass 408 Temporary Activity visa applicant (who is engaging in the relevant activity) during the transitional period or until your approval ceases (whatever is earlier).

From 19 May 2017 you would need to apply online for approval as a temporary activities sponsor if you want to sponsor a Subclass 407 Training visa or Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408) applicant.

If you apply for approval before 19 November 2016 as a long stay activity, training and research, professional development, entertainment, special program or superyacht crew sponsor, your application would continue to be assessed under the pre-19 November 2016 legislation. The sponsorship would only be valid for new visa applications until 18 May 2017.

Not all temporary activities sponsors would be eligible to sponsor applicants for all activity types in the proposed new temporary activity visa framework. For example, to sponsor a religious worker, the sponsor must be a temporary activities sponsor that is a religious organisation.

We have made some changes to the sponsorship of occupational trainees under the proposed Subclass 407 Training visa. You might not be eligible to sponsor occupational trainees where the training is facilitated by a third party. There are limited circumstances where this sponsorship arrangement is permitted.

Nomination

Subclass 408 Temporary Activity visa

This visa would not require a nomination. All visa applications would need to be lodged online. Paper applications would not be available.

Subclass 407 Training visa

This visa would require a nomination which must be lodged online. Paper applications would not be available.

All applications would have to be linked to a nomination. Applications would not be able to be linked to a nomination lodged before 19 November 2016.

Nominations lodged before 19 November 2016

All existing nominations lodged before 19 November 2016 would need to be linked to an associated visa application that was lodged before 19 November 2016.

If you are a long stay activity, training and research, entertainment, special program or superyacht crew sponsor and have applied or intend to apply to nominate an applicant for one of the associated visas before 19 November 2016, you would need to ensure that your nominated applicant applies for their visa before 19 November 2016. Otherwise the nomination cannot be used.

All applications for nominations that were lodged before 19 November 2016 would be assessed and finalised under pre-19 November 2016 legislation.

If the applicant is unable to lodge the associated visa application before 19 November 2016, you might want to contact your processing office to withdraw any unfinalised nominations as they might not be used under the new proposed legislation.

Nominations lodged after 19 November 2016

Nominations would need to be lodged online. Paper applications would not be available.

Subclass 407 Training visa applications (except where the sponsor is a Commonwealth agency) would need to be linked to a nomination that was lodged after 19 November 2016. A Subclass 407 Training visa application will not be able to be linked to a nomination lodged before 19 November 2016.

Subclass 400 Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) visa, subclasses 403 Temporary Work (International Relations) visa,subclass 407 Training visa, subclass 408 Temporary Activity visa

From 19 November 2016, visa applications would need to be lodged online. Paper lodgement would only available for the Subclass 403 Temporary Work (International Relations) visa.

Visa applications that need sponsorship during the transitional period will need to be sponsored by an approved long stay activity, training and research, professional development, entertainment, special programme and superyacht crew or temporary activities sponsor that is an appropriate type of organisation or person.

From 19 May 2017, all subclass 407 and 408 visa applications that need sponsorship would have to have a temporary activities sponsor for the application to be valid. Long stay activity, training and research, professional development, entertainment, special program or superyacht crew sponsors will not be able to sponsor a visa applicant from 19 May 2017.

More information about sponsorship arrangements will be available on our website in the coming weeks.

Temporary activity visa framework diagram

The following diagram shows the proposed new temporary activity visa framework in more detail.

A diagram showing the proposed new temporary activity visa framework