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  • Writer's pictureElan Rysher

New Visa Concessions for Tourism & Hospitality Workers

Updated: May 12, 2021

The Minister for Immigration has announced visa changes to support the Australian tourism and hospitality sector. The changes help employers address labour shortages caused by Covid-19 border restrictions.

Applicants for the Subclass 408 Covid-19 Pandemic Event visa will be permitted to continue their employment if they are working in tourism or hospitality. International students employed in this sector may work full time during course session.

Subclass 408 Covid-19 Pandemic Event visa

Temporary visa holders will be able to access the 408 Covid-19 Pandemic Event Visa for a period of 12 months if they work in the tourism and hospitality sector. This decision adds tourism and hospitality to the critical sectors of agriculture, food processing, health care, aged care, disability care and child care for eligibility for this visa subclass.

Temporary visa holders working in, or intending to work in, tourism and hospitality will be able to apply for the 408 Covid-19 Visa up to 90 days before their existing visa expires and then remain in Australia for up to 12 additional months. For information about the new 408 Post COVID-19 economic recovery event visa, click here.

Student visas

The Government will remove existing work hour caps for Student visa holders employed in the tourism and hospitality sector. A 40 hour fortnightly limit previously applied during study periods. Visa holders do not need to apply for a permission. The Department advises to contact the employer.

Students visa holders can work for ​more than 40 hours a fortnight if they are:

  • employed in the tourism and hospitality sector

  • employed in the agriculture sector

  • employed by an aged care Approved Provider or Commonwealth-funded aged care service provider with a RACS ID or a NAPS ID, before 8 September 20​20

  • employed by a registered National Disability Insurance Scheme provider

  • enrolled in a health care related course and you are supporting the health effort against Covid-19, as directed by health officials

Information for Employers​

Employers must continue to follow Australian workplace law. Overseas workers, including international students, have the same rights under Australian workplace law as all other employees.

These temporary measures will be reviewed by the government regularly. Employers will be advised when these measures no longer apply. While these measures are in place, the Department of Home Affairs and Australian Border Force will:

  • exercise their discretion to not cancel the visas of students who work in excess of 40 hours each fortnight to support your organisation

  • not refer student visa holders for investigation of any potential offence that might relate to the hours worked by a student visa holder in breach of their visa conditions

  • not refer you or relevant third-party labour hire companies, as an employer, for investigation of any potential offence that might relate to allowing a student visa holder to work in breach of their visa co​ndi​tions.​​

These changes require changes to the legislation to come into force. Migrants should be aware that hospitality and tourism is not included in the definition of critical sectors and critical skills for requests for exemption from Australia's travel restrictions.

ImmuUpdates posts new information about changes to Australia's visa system as it becomes available. Subscribe below to get our newsletter.

For more information please Contact Us or email

Elan Rysher is a Registered Migration Agent and Qualified Student Counsellor. He is the main Writer for ImmiUpdates and the founder of Rysher Migration. Elan has many years of experience working in immigration, finance and health. Being a former migrant himself, Elan is passionate about helping others fulfil their Australian dream.


Information (or the lack of it) contained in ImmiUpdates should not be relied on as immigration assistance or advice. ImmiUpdates expressly disclaim any liability, arising at law, in equity or otherwise, for any information published or not published in past, the present or future editions of the blog. People seeking immigration assistance should seek advice from a registered migration agent and those seeking legal advice should consult a lawyer. The copyright in the newsletter belongs to Rysher Migration Services and no part of the blog is to be reproduced by any means without the written consent of Rysher Migration Services.


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