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Australia to Discontinue Pandemic Event Visa from February 2024

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Australia’s government has announced the discontinuation of the Pandemic Event visa (subclass 408), effective from February 2024. Initially introduced in 2020 to assist stranded international students and address labor shortages during the pandemic’s border closures, the visa provided a 12-month extension for expiring visas and multiple entries. Existing visa holders can still extend for six months at AUD405, ensuring their lawful stay until expiration. However, the government will cease accepting new applications for this visa and eventually discontinue it.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil and Immigration Minister Andrew Giles emphasized that the visa’s closure reflects the changing circumstances as the pandemic recedes. They are offering current Pandemic Event visa holders the opportunity to explore alternative visa options or plan their departure from Australia. Those ineligible for another visa will be required to leave the country, as the government seeks to maintain certainty within the visa system.

Additionally, recent policy changes, including work-hour caps for international students and the removal of work exemptions for Working Holiday Visa holders, are expected to impact Net Overseas Migration.