The subclass 400 visa program

The subclass 400 visa is for persons seeking short-term entry to enter Australia to:

  • undertake non-ongoing, highly specialised work
  • participate in non-ongoing cultural or social activities at the invitation of an Australian organisation

The program also allows for a 'discretionary grant' of the visa in exceptional cases where there are circumstances affecting Australia's interests.

What are the requirements?

The program does not require the applicant to be sponsored or nominated, but the applicant does require to establish that they have the support of their Australian employer or the Australian organisation that has extended an invitation to the applicant to travel to Australia.

The subclass 400 visa program has three different streams, each with their own specific criteria:

  • Highly Specialised Work Stream - for persons undertaking highly specialised work of a non-ongoing nature
  • Invited Participant Stream - for persons who are invited by an Australian organisation to participate in events
  • Australian Interest Stream - where there are compelling circumstance affecting Australia's interests

The subclass 400 visa program does not have any English language ability requirements, nor does it require a minimum salary to be paid to the applicant to allow the visa to be granted. However, the Department may request sight of the terms and conditions of employment that relate to the highly specialised work to be carried out.

In such circumstances it is expected that the visa applicant will lodge a declaration from the Australian business that payments will be in accordance with Australian workplace legislation. As a general rule, ANZSCO Major group 1-3 occupations should be paid at least the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold that applies to 457 visas.  

What does highly specialised work mean?

Broadly speaking, highly specialised work means highly specialised knowledge or skills that can assist Australian businesses and cannot reasonably be found in the Australian labour market. 

How can I apply for a subclass 400 visa?

Applicants for a 400 visa must be outside of Australia when they apply and also when the visa is granted. The application can made via the internet through the Department of Immigration website. Family members can make combined applications, however its worth noting that family members who make combined applications do not have work rights.  

How long is the subclass 400 visa granted for?

From the 23rd November 2014, the 400 visa program was changed to allow the visa to be granted for up to 6 months. However its should be noted that under Departmental policy , the visa will normally only be granted for a period of 3 months, unless the applicant presents a 'strong business case' for grant of a longer period.

Applicants can travel to and enter Australia within 6 months of the grant of the visa. The visa may be granted for a single entry or allow for multiple entries depending on the circumstances described in the application.

Can I get a subclass 400 visa if I work in the entertainment industry?

Persons seeking to enter Australia to perform as an entertainer or to support an entertainer or to direct, produce or take part in a theatre, film, television or radio production, or a concert or recording that is to be shown in Australia, should apply for a Temporary Work (Entertainment) subclass 420 visa.

Entertainers who wish to travel to Australia for promotional activities are eligible to apply for a subclass 400 visa.