Overview of latest COVID-19 information from the Department of Home Affairs for Businesses and Employers.


The Department of Home Affairs has recently provided information to assist specific industries as well as employers affected by the ongoing pandemic.  These measures are designed to assist Australian employers and key industries recover from the effects of the pandemic.

The following sectors have been highlighted:

Agricultural sector:

The Department has advised that it will allow flexible arrangements to enable certain critical workers, including those on the Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme and Working Holiday Makers, to extend their stay in Australia:

  • Seasonal Worker Programme workers with visas due to expire, can apply for a Temporary Activity (subclass 408) visa via the Australian Government Endorsed Event (AGEE) stream.
  • Pacific Labour Scheme workers with visas due to expire can apply for the newly created Temporary Work (International Relations) (subclass 403) Pacific Labour scheme stream visa.
  • In a significant concession, workers currently in Australia under these programs will  be exempt from the normal requirement to work for a single employer, and will be therefore able to move between approved employers.
  • In addition, Working Holiday Makers who are working in critical sectors (eg agriculture, aged or health care) will be exempt from the 6 month work limitation with one employer and eligible for a Temporary Activity (subclass 408) visa in the Australian Government Endorsed Event (AGEE) stream.

Aged Care and Nursing Homes

International students who work in aged care can also work more than the normal work limitation of 40 hours a fortnight. This is aimed to ensure that there are sufficient workers in these sectors to cope with the effects of COVID-19.

Approved Aged care providers should have been given details of the relaxation of the work limitation, but it only applies to existing workers in existing positions.

Tasmania’s nomination requirements relaxed as a result of COVID-19

Individual state governments are responding in different ways to the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.  The State of Tasmania has confirmed that a degree of flexibility will be applied to applicants genuinely affected by COVID-19 employment stand-downs before or after meeting the mandatory 6 month full-time employment requirement.

The effect of this is that each application for state nomination, will be considered on its merits. The industry sector will also be taken into account, including the extent to which it is is critical to Tasmania’s needs.

Specifically the Tasmanian government will consider the following factors with leniency when issuing a nomination:

  1. Employment – A minimum 3 months full time employment up to the closure or business / reduction in hours as a result of COVID-19.
  • Underemployment – Full-time employment that ceased directly due to a COVID-19 related close down or restriction.
  • Ability to return to employment – If there is a reasonable likelihood of being able to return to employment (full or part-time) after the workplace restrictions have been lifted (i.e a written evidence from employer).

We are advised that a reduction in hours from full-time to part-time as a result of COVID-19 restrictions will be considered with leniency.

Adrian Felton

Migration Consultant (MARN:0105680)

Please contact us directly if you have any questions regarding the above information.

Please Note: Many of the comments in this publication are general in nature and anyone intending to apply the information to practical circumstances should seek professional advice to independently verify their interpretation and the information’s applicability to their particular circumstances.