Temporary activity visas set to change on 19 November 2016

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has recently listed on their website reforms to a number of temporary activity visas. These changes are designed to simplify the visa framework, and require these applications to be lodged online through the ImmiAccount system. Note, however, that these changes are subject to approval and no laws have been passed despite a high likelihood that they will.

Temporary activity visas encompass a number of different visa subclasses for a number of purposes, which are contained in "streams" within these subclasses. The subclasses that are proposed to be unavailable from 19 November 2016 are:

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

In their place will be the following visas:

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

It is not expected that these amendments will affect the programme as a whole or any activity that is currently available. Any applications lodged under the old subclasses will still be assessed under the old regulations. As there is already a subclass 400 Temporary Work (Short Stay) visa, it is expected that the regulations governing this subclass will receive slight amendments. The diagram provided indicates that the Invited Participant steam will be “moved” to a different visa subclass.

These changes are designed to remove the six different sponsorship applications and replace them with one sponsorship for all new temporary activity visas. Transitional arrangements will be in place for some subclasses. What this means is that for organisations that are already approved sponsors may be able to use that sponsorship for one of the new visa subclasses. In some circumstances, nomination applications may not be necessary, or be dependent on the proposed length of stay in Australia, and may even depend on whether the visa applicant is located in Australia or overseas at the time of application.

This is not the first time the temporary activity visa programme has been subject to change. The current visas were available from 24 November 2012, meaning they will have been in existence for less than four years before being repealed. Still, simplification is always a welcoming activity.