Joint media release with the Hon Clare O'Neil MP
The Albanese Labor Government is closing the Pandemic Event visa.
From February 2024, the visa will be closed to all applicants. This will provide certainty to our visa system now that the circumstances that drove the operation of the visa no longer exist.
From 2 September 2023, the Pandemic Event visa will only be open to applications from existing Pandemic Event visa holders.
All other visa holders will be ineligible for the Pandemic Event visa. This is a transitional measure to promote visa integrity.
Anyone with a valid Pandemic Event visa will remain lawful until their current visa expires.
The staged closure of the visa is another measure to ensure the visa system is serving the needs of the Australian people.
Labor inherited a migration system with backlog after backlog, delays and endless waitlists. The Albanese Government hasn’t wasted a day in cleaning up the mess left by the former Liberal Government.
The Albanese Government has recently ended a series of pandemic measures, including unlimited work hours for international students and work exemptions for Working Holiday visa holders.
These measures combined place downward pressure on Net Overseas Migration, which continues to rebound post-pandemic, and will help support the return to pre-pandemic levels of population growth.
From 2 September 2023, new applications will receive a six month visa. A Visa Application Charge of $405 AUD will also be introduced.
These settings will further ensure that the visa is only used by those who have a genuine need to remain and contribute to Australia.
People who currently hold a Pandemic Event visa and seek to apply for a different visa will need to meet the criteria for that visa.
Those without any options for other visa applications are expected to depart Australia when their visa expires.
Quotes attributable to Minister Giles
“The Pandemic Event visa was an important part of Australia’s visa system during the pandemic. Many people on temporary visas helped Australia during this period. We’re providing an opportunity for people who hold a Pandemic Event visa to explore another visa option, or plan to leave Australia.
“Under the Liberals, our migration system wasn’t working for anyone. There was no plan to deal with how the borders reopened.
“We’ve brought wait times down, and we’re working to make sure our migration system is working again for all Australians after a decade of mess and mismanagement under the Liberals.”