FAQs - proposed 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.

General sponsorship

Would the proposed changes impact my current sponsorship?

If you are an approved sponsor, your sponsorship will remain valid until 18 May 2017, or until your approval ceases (whatever is earlier). The processing of nominations for visa applications lodged before 19 November 2016, and visa applications lodged on or before 18 May 2017 will not be impacted. However you will be unable to sponsor new visa applicants with your existing sponsorship after 18 May 2017.

The proposed changes would not impact current sponsored visa holders. You will still be bound by your existing sponsorship obligations.

Depending on your circumstance, you might want to wait until on or after 19 November 2016 before applying to become a sponsor to maximise the period you will be able to sponsor visa applications.

My application for long stay activity sponsorship, training and research sponsorship, special programme or entertainment sponsorship has not been finalised yet. What should I do?

All applications for sponsorship lodged before 19 November 2016 will be finalised as quickly as possible. If approved, your sponsorship can be linked to any existing application(s) or new application(s) lodged up until 18 May 2017.

Do I need to lodge a nomination application for a subclass 408 Temporary Activity visa?

No. Nominations are not required for any person applying for a subclass 408 Temporary Activity visa. 

I want to sponsor a person on the subclass 408 Temporary Activity visa for less than three months. What would I need to do?

Applicants who are outside Australia and entering Australia for three months or less to undertake a specified activity under the subclass 408 Temporary Activity visa do not require a sponsor. You will be required to provide a letter of support for the applicant confirming your relationship to the applicant and provide details of the temporary activity arrangements.

General visa applications

Would I need to lodge an application for a bridging visa if I lodge my online application while I am in Australia?

No. If you lodge a valid visa application online you will automatically be granted a bridging visa. Your bridging visa will come into effect after your substantive visa expires, to keep you lawful while you remain in Australia until your application for a subclass 408 Temporary Activity visa or subclass 407 Training visa is finalised. 

How would I provide supporting documents for my online application?

When you lodge your online application you will be provided with a list of mandatory documents required to assess your application. A document checklist will be available on our website when the new visas are implemented.

You need to upload your supporting documentation for your visa application through ImmiAccount at the time of lodgement.

I currently hold either a subclass 401 Temporary Long Stay visa, subclass 402 Training and Research visa, subclass 416 Special Program visa or subclass 420 Entertainment visa. Can I apply for my members of your family unit to be added to my visa application?

No. From 19 November 2016 members of your family unit must lodge a new online subsequent entrant visa application. The subsequent entrant visa form will request specific information including your application type and application ID that will allow the applications to be linked. You might be required to provide confirmation from your sponsor or supporting organisation (if you stay for three months or less) that they are willing to support any dependants on your application.

Subclass 401 Temporary Work (Long Stay Activity) visa

Would the proposed changes impact my current visa?

No. If you already hold a religious worker stream, sport stream, domestic worker stream or the exchange stream of the subclass 401 Temporary Work (Long Stay Activity) visa you will not be impacted. You must still abide by the conditions attached to your visa and inform us if your circumstances change.

My application for a subclass 401 Temporary Work (Long Stay Activity) visa has not been finalised yet. What should I do?

You are not required to do anything, except comply with our requests. All visa applications lodged before 19 November 2016 will continue to be assessed under the pre-19 November 2016 legislation as quickly as possible. 

I need to stay in Australia longer than what my current subclass 401 Temporary Work (Long Stay Activity) visa allows so that I can continue my work. What visa will I need to apply for?

If you intend to apply for a new visa on or after 19 November 2016 you will need to lodge an application for the new subclass 408 Temporary Activity visa as the old visa will be closed for new applications from that date.

Do I require sponsorship or nomination to apply for the subclass 408 Temporary Activity visa?

Sponsorship is not required if you apply outside Australia and intend to stay for three months or less. If you want to stay longer than three months or if you apply for this visa in Australia then sponsorship is required.

If you intend to come to Australia for longer than three months or apply in Australia then you will need to be sponsored by an Australian organisation, government agency or foreign government agency.

The organisation will need to apply for and be approved as a sponsor. 

Nomination is not required for the new subclass 408 Temporary Activity visa.

Subclass 420 Temporary Work (Entertainment) visa

What are the key changes for working in the entertainment industry in Australia from 19 November 2016?

The subclass 420 Temporary Work (Entertainment) visa will be consolidated (along with six other visa products) into the new subclass 408 Temporary Activity visa. It will include:

  • mandatory online lodgement
  • no nominations
  • a new sponsor class - ‘temporary activities sponsor’ - which would replace six existing sponsor classes, including entertainment sponsors
  • no sponsorship for applicants who lodge outside Australia and intend to stay for three months or less
  • sponsorship will only be required for applicants who lodge in Australia (regardless of stay period) or applicants who lodge outside Australia and intend to stay for longer than three months
  • removal of bulk discounts
  • changes to fee concessions
  • individuals will no longer be eligible to sponsor entertainers.

I applied for approval as an entertainment sponsor before 19 November 2016 but a decision has not been made on my application. What happens to my application?

All applications lodged before 19 November 2016 will continue to be assessed under the pre-19 November 2016 legislation as quickly as possible.

I already have completed paper applications for an event I am sponsoring that is happening after 19 November 2016. What should I do?

You will need to lodge these paper applications before 19 November 2016. Paper applications will not be accepted from 19 November 2016.

After 19 November 2016 nominations and sponsorships will not be required if the applicant applies outside Australia and intends to stay for three months or less.

Sponsorship will be required if the applicant applies in Australia, regardless of length of stay, or if they apply outside Australia and intends to stay for more than three months.

You should be aware that there are proposed changes to fee concessions from 19 November 2016.

I am an individual. Can I still sponsor entertainers?

No. From 19 November 2016 individuals will no longer be able to sponsor applicants for an entertainment activity. If you are an approved sponsor, your sponsorship will remain valid until 18 May 2017, or until your approval ceases (whatever is earlier). However, individuals might support the visa application where sponsorship is not required.

For an organisation to become a temporary activities sponsor, it must be an organisation that is lawfully operating in Australia, a government agency or a foreign government agency.

From 19 November 2016, you will need to apply online as a temporary activities sponsor, if you want to sponsor people coming to work in the entertainment industry in Australia.

My entertainment sponsorship is due to expire shortly after these changes come into effect. How do I apply to sponsor more entertainers after 19 November 2016?

You only need to sponsor entertainers who are in Australia when they apply for their visa, or if they intend to stay in Australia for longer than three months when applying from outside Australia. If you need to apply for sponsorship after 19 November 2016 you will need to lodge an online application to become a temporary activities sponsor.

I will be undertaking an entertainment activity and I intend to stay in Australia for three months or less. Do I require sponsorship?

No. From 19 November 2016 sponsorship will not be required if you lodge your visa application while you are outside Australia and you intend to stay in Australia for three months or less. You will need to include with your visa application a letter of support from the individual or organisation that has responsibility for the event(s). The letter should:

  • be on the organisation letterhead
  • identify you and any dependants travelling with you
  • provide details of the activities that you will be engaging in, and the reason you are required (a contract might provide this detail)
  • provide details of any remuneration you will be paid and what additional support will be provided to you during your stay.

What are the proposed visa fees for entertainers under the new Temporary Activity visa?

Upon commencement of the changes, the Visa Application Charge will be reduced from $380 to $275. In addition, the sponsor nomination requirement and the associated $170 fee will also be removed; halving the related charge per person. Due to the decreased cost per person, visa costs for many productions will reduce.

Will the current bulk visa application discount for entertainers continue?

No. At present, production companies that lodge more than 10 visas in a group receive a bulk discount. A Visa Application Charge ($380 per application) is applied for only the first 10 applications and a nomination fee ($170 per application) is applied for only the first 20 applications. These concessions are not available to smaller productions that bring less than 10 workers to Australia and will not be available from 19 November 2016. The existing fee concession is not used by other types of temporary visa programmes and paying for each visa is consistent with other temporary visa subclasses.

What fee concessions would be available from 19 November 2016?

Full fee concessions would only be available if you are participating in an event organised by a:

  • registered charity
  • government agency (federal, state/territory)
  • government funded (federal, state/territory) organisation
  • foreign government agency.

You will need to provide evidence with your online application that your sponsor or supporting organisation falls into one of the above categories. If you do not provide evidence when you submit your application, your application might not be processed.

I am being sponsored by an Australian organisation for longer than three months. Can I apply for the visa while I am in Australia? Would I still be eligible for a fee concession?

Yes. You can apply for your visa in Australia. You might be eligible for a fee concession if you are working in the entertainment industry in an event(s) organised by a registered charity, government agency, a government funded (federal, state/territory) organisation or a foreign government agency.

Subclass 402 Temporary Work (Training and Research) visa

Can I apply for a Training and Research visa after 19 November 2016?

No. From 19 November 2016 the professional development stream in the Training and Research visa would be repealed. This visa would be replaced by a new Training (subclass 407) visa.

All prospective subclass 407 Training visa applicants are required to be identified in a training nomination lodged by an approved subclass 402 Training and Research sponsor (until 18 May 2017) or a temporary activities sponsor, unless you are undertaking training with a Commonwealth government agency in Australia.

I am a current training and research sponsor who facilitates occupational training through third party providers and training hosts. Am I still eligible to nominate occupational trainees after 19 November 2016?

Nominations for any training and research visa applications lodged before 19 November 2016, will continue to be processed and finalised under pre-19 November 2016 regulations.

Changes have been made regarding the eligibility for sponsoring an occupational trainee from 19 November 2016. Sponsorship arrangements by a third party are only permitted in limited circumstances. 

I am listed on an approved occupational training nomination. Can I still lodge my application for a subclass 402 Training and Research visa in the occupational trainee stream after 19 November 2016?

No. Subclass 402 Training and Research applications must be lodged before 19 November 2016 to be eligible to use an approved or lodged occupational trainee nominations.

From 19 November 2016, your sponsor might be eligible to lodge an application identifying you on the nomination for a subclass 407 Training visa. After a valid nomination has been lodged, you might be eligible to lodge a subclass 407 Training visa application. 

The online subclass 407 Training visa application form will request specific details about your sponsor and your nomination application ID that will enable the applications to be linked.

My application for a subclass 402 Training and Research visa has not been finalised yet. What should I do?

You do not need to do anything, except comply with any further requests in relation to your application. All visa applications lodged before 19 November 2016 will continue to be assessed under the pre-19 November 2016 legislation as quickly as possible.

If you choose to withdraw your visa application and lodge a new application you might increase the overall time to process your application.

I currently hold a Training and Research visa. Can I change sponsors or training providers?

Yes. However from 19 November 2016 your sponsor will need to lodge an application identifying you on the nomination for a new subclass 407 Training visa. After a valid nomination has been lodged, you will need to lodge a new subclass 407 Training visa application. You should not commence training with your new sponsor until the Training nomination and visa application have been approved.

I am in Australia on a Training and Research visa undertaking research and required to stay longer in Australia to complete my research. What should I do?

From 19 November 2016, all research stream and occupational training stream visa holders undertaking research in Australia), are required to apply for the subclass 408 Temporary Activity visa to remain in Australia. Sponsorship will be required.

I am an athlete and have previously held a Training and Research visa to undertake elite sports training in Australia. Can I apply for a subclass 407 Training visa from 19 November 2016?

No. All athletes undertaking training in Australia will be required to lodge an application for a subclass 408 Temporary Activity visa from 19 November 2016.

Subclass 416 Special Program visa

I am a subclass 416 Special Program sponsor. Will I still require a special programme agreement to be eligible to sponsor an applicant under the special programme activity on the new subclass 408 Temporary Activity visa?

Yes. To meet the requirement of the special programme activity in the subclass 408 Temporary Activity visa you will be required to have a special programme agreement with us.

Will I need to apply for a new special programme agreement to lodge a temporary activities sponsorship application?

If you want to sponsor a person for a subclass 408 Temporary Activity visa under the special programme activity, you will be required to hold a valid special programme agreement.

If you currently hold a special programme agreement, this will remain valid under the new temporary activities sponsorship until the cease date is specified in the special programme agreement. To sponsor a visa applicant under your special programme agreement after 18 May 2017, you will first need to become an approved temporary activities sponsor.

I am an approved seasonal worker sponsor. Will I be able to sponsor seasonal workers after 19 November 2016?

Yes. From 19 November 2016, you will be able to sponsor prospective season worker programme applicants in the seasonal worker programme stream of the subclass 403 Temporary Work (International Relations) visa using your current sponsorship until 18 May 2017.

From 19 May 2017 you will be required lodge an application for a temporary activities sponsorship and be approved to continue to sponsor new applicants for a subclass 403 Temporary Work (International Relations) visa.

Sponsors will no longer require seasonal worker agreements to be eligible to sponsor prospective seasonal workers in Australia; however, they will still need to meet any requirements stipulated by the Department of Employment.  

I want to lodge an application for the seasonal worker programme stream of the subclass 403 Temporary Work (International Relations) visa. How can I lodge my application?

From 19 November 2016 all applications for the seasonal worker programme stream of the subclass 403 Temporary Work (International Relations) visa can be lodged online through ImmiAccount, or lodged by post using a paper application.

More information

Further information is available on the proposed temporary activity visa framework changes page.