Temporary Work (Long Stay Activity) visa (subclass 401)

A 401 visa is for people who want to come to Australia on a temporary basis under one of the following four streams:

A 401 visa allows an overseas worker to:

The 401 visa category involves three stages: Sponsorship, Nomination and the Visa application.

1.     Sponsorship

To sponsor someone on this visa, your organisation must first apply and be approved as a Long Stay Activity Sponsor.

Your organisation may be eligible to sponsor someone for a 401 visa if it is:

Your organisation must also show that it:

o    if you are sponsoring someone in the Exchange stream, you must allow the Australian that participated in the reciprocal exchange overseas to fill the same or an equivalent position to the one they held before the exchange.

o    if you are sponsoring someone in the Sport or Religious Worker streams as a volunteer, you have to secure an offer of reasonable accommodation for the sponsored person.

o    if you are sponsoring someone in the Religious Worker or Domestic Worker (Executive) streams, you have to pay travel costs to enable the sponsored person to leave Australia under certain circumstances.

For more information on the sponsorship obligations, see ‘Sponsor obligations’ under the ‘Sponsors’ tab Here.

Please note that the above lists are not exhaustive and other criteria may apply. Please consult us for more details.

Once your business’ application to become a Long Stay Activity Sponsor has been approved, the Sponsorship agreement with the Department of Immigration is generally valid for three years.

2.     Nomination

As a Long Stay Activity Sponsor, your 401 Nomination application must satisfy prescribed criteria depending on the stream in which your business is sponsoring someone:

o    the position must be skilled

o    the exchange must benefit both the sponsored person and the Australian participating in the reciprocal exchange overseas.

o    there are different requirements depending on whether the sponsored person is a competitor or a support staff for a competitor; contracted to play for, coach or instruct an Australian team or organisation; or is a judge for a sporting competition.

For example, if the sponsored person is contracted to play for Australia, the Sponsor must show that the arrangement will benefit sport in Australia, the sponsored person has an established reputation in their field of sport, and the Australian national sporting body has provided a letter of endorsement for the sponsored person.

o    the position must be full-time, directly related to the religious objectives of the institution such as religious teaching, and predominantly not-for-profit in nature

o    the sponsored person has the qualifications and experience to carry out the duties of the nominated position.

o    the Sponsor must show that it was unable to fill the nominated position with a suitable person in Australia and provide evidence of labour market testing, or demonstrate that there are compelling reasons for employing the nominated person

o    the sponsored person is over 18 and has experience as a domestic worker.

Please note that the above lists are not exhaustive and other criteria may apply. Please consult us for more details.

3.     Visa application

You can apply for a 401 visa from outside Australia, and from inside Australia so long as you do not have a ‘No Further Stay’ condition on your Australian visa and you meet any other requirements for your onshore application. A visa applicant in all streams must demonstrate that they satisfy prescribed criteria, including that they:

Please note that the above list is not exhaustive and other criteria may apply. Please consult us for more details.

The above list also applies to any family member you include in your 401 application. Other criteria may also apply – please consult us for more details.

Additional criteria

Depending on the stream in which you apply for a 401 visa, you may need to show that you satisfy additional criteria. For example, for the Domestic Worker (Executive) Stream, you will need to show that you are being employed in accordance with Australian workplace laws.

Please consult us for more details regarding the additional criteria for the particular stream in which you are applying for a 401 visa.

Common issues with a 401 visa application and how we can help you

Some of the common issues that can arise with a 401 visa include:

We have significant experience with assisting overseas professionals to obtain a 401 visa across the four streams, as well as in advising 401 sponsors of their ongoing obligations. For further information and advice, please contact one of our experienced Immigration Lawyers and Registered Migration Agents today.

This page provides a summary of the 401 visa as at May 2015. Australian immigration law is complex and it changes frequently. We therefore recommend that you contact us to confirm the requirements for a 401 visa and schedule a consultation with one of our Solicitors and Registered Migration Agents.

Let us help you. Phone: +61 2 8268 4000 or Book a conference