My visa is expiring. What visa can I apply to stay longer in Australia during COVID?

My visa is expiring. What visa can I apply to stay longer in Australia during COVID?

If your visa is about to expire or has expired, you should consult with an immigration specialist lawyer to explore your visa options. You may be eligible to apply for the new COVID-19 Pandemic Event visa to stay longer in Australia temporarily.


COVID-19 Pandemic Event Visa could be your last resort 

As the Australian economy gradually recovers from COVID-19, the impact of the pandemic on migrants continue to cause disruption to the lives of overseas students, workers, as well as visiting parents, who are particularly vulnerable due to their visa status. 

With the current travel restrictions in place, many temporary visa holders are at risk of becoming unlawful residents as a result of overstaying their visas due to the lack of visa options and proper visa advice.

Fortunately, for those who wish to remain in Australia but are not sure about other visa options, you may be eligible to apply for a COVID-19 Pandemic Event Visa to stay longer in Australia while you sort out your travel plans or next visa options.


How long can I stay with the COVID-19 Pandemic Event Visa?

The length of stay depends on whether or not you are working in a critical sector.

If you are working in a critical sector, the Department may grant your visa period for up to 12 months.

If you are not working in a critical sector and simply need a temporary visa option to stay due to travel restrictions, the Department may grant your visa period for up to 3 months.

At this stage, the processing times are not available for this COVID visa. However, from our experience, the majority of our clients’ visa took at least 6 months to be processed.


Will I get a Bridging Visa after applying for this COVID-19 Visa?

Yes, once you have lodged this COVID visa and when your previous visa has expired, you will receive a bridging visa to stay on in Australia.

Based on our experience, the Department on average takes approximately 6 months to process our COVID visa applications. This gives us plenty of time to assess your situation and we will work with you to determine your next best visa options.


How much does it cost to apply for this COVID Visa?

The COVID visa is free to apply for.


Am I eligible for the COVID-19 Pandemic Event Visa?

  1. You must be in Australia to apply for this visa.
  2. There are specific timeframes as to when you can apply for this visa:
Last Resort Applications: If you wish to stay longer because you cannot leave Australia due to travel restrictions
  • you must have 28 days or less remaining on your current visa; or
  • your last substantive visa expired less than 28 days ago.
Critical Sector Applications: If you wish to stay longer to work in a critical sector
  • you must have 90 days or less remaining on your current visa; or
  • your last substantive visa expired less than 28 days ago.

If your visa expired more than 28 days, you should consult with our immigration lawyers as soon as possible to rectify your visa situation.

We strongly encourage that you speak to our immigration specialists to determine your eligibility to prevent any costly mistakes due to the technical nature of immigration law.

What are the critical sectors?

The following sectors are considered as critical:

  • agriculture
  • food processing
  • health care
  • aged care
  • disability care
  • child care

If you are unsure of whether you work falls within the scope of the above critical sectors, you are more than welcome to consult us.


What is the processing time for this visa?

There is currently no estimated processing time for the COVID visa application.

However, based on our experience, the majority of the applications are processed within 3 to 6 months.

Does the COVID visa give me work rights?

The Department generally grant you work rights if you are employed or have been offered to work in one of the critical sectors as mentioned above.

However, if you are able to demonstrate that you have been offered a role or your current work somewhat relates to critical sectors, there is a possibility that you may be able to obtain work rights with the COVID visa.

Since the COVID visa was introduced, we have successfully assisted many clients to obtain work rights despite working in sectors that are not directly related to critical sectors with the right supporting evidence and submission. We strongly recommend that you consult with our lawyers to assess your role and ensure the right documents are submitted to the Department to strengthen your application. 


If I am still unable to leave Australia once the COVID visa expires, will I be able to extend?

Based on the latest update from the Department, you will be able to extend your COVID visa – provided that you can demonstrate evidence of the efforts you have taken to try to arrange your departure.

Our team of immigration lawyers has extensive experience to prepare a strong submission tailored to your current situation for your COVID visa application.

This visa option may not be suitable for everyone, and in which scenario where you require special considerations, please reach out to us for professional advice from our experienced immigration team.

We are here to help.

Who are we?

Agile Legal Consulting is a boutique law firm in the heart of Melbourne CBD.  We support and assist our clients in all areas of law, with a specialisation in immigration law, commercial law, and property law. 

Led by our Accredited Immigration Law Specialist – Jensen Ma (MARN 9802879), together with a dedicated immigration law team with over 60 years of collective experience, we are passionate about providing our clients with comprehensive, client-focused solutions. 

Our multi-lingual lawyers offer assistance on a broad spectrum of immigration matters.  Come speak to us in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean or Bahasa Melayu – we are always available to answer your questions.