AUSTRALIA – No More Short Term Work on Visitor Visa Status
Minister Brendan O'Connor last week announced a Visitor Visa restructure as part of DIAC's "Simpler visas" reform agenda, which intends to halve the total number of visa Subclasses by 2015. Subject to final approval of the legislation by the Governor-General, the proposed reforms to Visitor Visas will reduce the number of Subclasses from nine to five and standardise some requirements. A new Subclass has been introduced, specifically for short term work of up to six weeks.
DIAC Announcement on Visitor Visas
The published DIAC announcement is as follows:
From 23 March 2013 the Government intends to introduce significant changes to the Visitor and Medical Treatment visas. These changes are subject to the approval of the Governor-General in Council.
We will no longer be accepting new applications for the following visas:
- Tourist visa (subclass 676)
- Sponsored family visitor visa (subclass 679)
- Business (short Stay) visa (Subclass 456)
- Sponsored business visitor (short stay) visa (subclass 459)
- Medical Treatment (short stay) visa (subclass 675)
- Medical Treatment (long stay) visa (subclass 685)
- Electronic Travel Authority (visitor) (subclass 976)
- Electronic Travel Authority (business – short validity) (subclass 977)
- Electronic Travel Authority (business – long validity) (subclass 956)
Applicants who were previously eligible for the visas listed above must now apply for one of the following visas:
- Temporary work (short stay activity) visa (subclass 400)
- Visitor visa (subclass 600)
- Electronic Travel Authority (subclass 601)*Medical Treatment visa (subclass 602)
- eVisitor (subclass 651)
The ETA/evisitor subclasses 601/651 will be for eligible citizens entering Australia for business meetings and not work. If there is going to be any work element to the visit then the applicant must apply for the 400.
What Is The New Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) Visa Class 400?
The new Temporary Work Subclass is a paper application lodged at the nearest Australian Immigration post nearest to where the applicant lives. The application will need to be submitted with a letter of invitation from the Australian sponsor and the sending entity or the home country.
The maximum stay granted will typically be six weeks, or up to 12 weeks in exceptional circumstances.
We anticipate that this will lead to significant delays at popular posts such as Berlin, Madrid and Washington.
Before the electronic visa system was introduced, all business visas were paper lodged and based on experience, we expect a four week average processing time to come into play in the not too distant future.
Business Vs Work Defined
There is now a clear definition between business and short term work; the boundaries will no longer be grey. Applicants coming to Australia for short term work for up to six weeks must apply for a 400 visa. If required for any longer than this (for example, for six weeks and one day) then a 457 visa should be applied for.
- Note that, effective 23 March, short term work up to six weeks may NOT be carried out on visitor status; a new Subclass 400 visa must be applied for
- Note that short term work lasting beyond six weeks will in most cases trigger the need for a 457 visa; plan accordingly and make sure your Standard Business Sponsorship (SBS) approval is up to date