Pandemic stream SC 408 Visa closing 


Migration (COVID-19 Pandemic event for Temporary Activity (Subclass 408) visa) Amendment Instrument (LIN 23/061) 2023, amends LIN 22/046 with the effect of closing the ‘COVID’ stream of this visa subclass to new applications from 2 September 2023 and for subsequent applications by current Pandemic Event visa holders until 1 February 2024.

The instrument includes the following changes:

  • applications made up to and including 1 September 2023 will continue to be assessed under the criteria in LIN 22/046;
  • a visa application charge will be imposed for eligible applications for this visa from 2 September 2023;
  • visa applications lodged before 2 September 2023 will be considered for 12 months validity and 2 years for Temporary Graduate visa holder;
  • those lodging a visa application on or after 2 September 2023 must hold a Pandemic Event visa that expires in 28 days or less
  • visa applications lodged on or from 2 September 2023 will be considered for up to 6 months stay.

This Instrument commenced on 2 September 2023.


International Students – Visas and compliance

In a joint media release Ministers Clare, O’Connor and O’Neil announced a number of changes within the international student sector.


Increase in savings required

Evidence of savings for international students will need to show evidence of $24,505 in savings from 1 October 2023.

This is a 17% increase on the current levels and amounts to the equivalent of indexation since 2019 and reflects the increases in living expenses since that time.


Changing courses

Taking effect immediately, the Government has changed the ability of international students who have been in Australia for less than six months, to change from genuine study to arrangements such as ‘concurrent enrolment’ that facilitated working in Australia.


Fit and proper persons

Suspension certificates can be issued under s97 of the Education Services for Overseas Students Act (ESOS Act) to high-risk education providers. The Government has identified more than 200 providers with visa refusal rates higher than 50%.

An Instrument has also been released that strengthens the fit and proper persons standards for persons who exercise a degree of control or influence over the management or operation of a training organisation. The purpose of these changes is to increase public confidence in their suitability to manage, or be involved with, an organisation that provides or assesses national VET qualifications.

The full press release is available on the Ministers’ websites.


Aged care work concessions

The Department of Home Affairs have confirmed that student visa holders working in the aged care sector, who are eligible for the concession to the working hours cap until the end of December 2023, may change employer provided all other relevant criteria are met.

VETASSESS – Trade occupations application pause

​​​​​​VETASSESS has informed that from 25 September 2023, the Authority will pause acceptance of new applications for assessment for the following trade occupations to allow it to process the backlog of applications currently on-hand:

  • Chef, ANZSCO Code 351311
  • Cook, ANZSCO Code 351411
  • Diesel Motor Mechanic, ANZSCO Code 321212
  • Motor Mechanic (General), ANZSCO Code 321211
  • Fitter (General), ANZSCO Code 323211
  • Electrician (General), ANZSCO Code 341111
  • Metal Machinist (First Class), ANZSCO Code 323214.

If you have already lodged an application with VETASSESS, you do not need to take any action. VETASSESS will continue to process those application.  Alternative assessment authorities should be sought for these occupations during this period. It is expected that the applicants that will be most impacted will be those General Skilled Migration, Subclass 494 Regional Employer Sponsored and SC 186 Employer Sponsored Directs Entry.

For alternative assessment authorities please contact Trades Recognition Australia (TRA).


Plumber (General), ANZSCO Code 334111– new Pathway 1 applications for this occupation will also be paused from September 30.

VETASSESS is currently assessing this occupation for the CPC32413 Certificate III in Plumbing, which has been superseded and is not equivalent to the new CPC32420 Certificate III in Plumbing qualification that is due to come into effect on 31 January 2024 and are awaiting instructions from Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) on assessment requirements for the new qualification.

This newsletter only provides general information related to current migration matters. The information contained in this communication does not constitute specific migration advice, and should not be construed or relied on as such. Professional advice should be sought for the specifics of your situation prior to any action being taken. BD Welsh and Co disclaims any liability (including, without limitation, for any direct or indirect or consequential costs, loss or damage or loss of profits) arising from anything done or omitted to be done by any party in reliance, whether wholly or partially, on any of the information contained in this newsletter. Any party that relies on the information does so at its own risk. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.