Previously there was not one visa which allowed persons to come to Australia to perform certain type of work which only required a short stay, e.g. a technician coming to fix problems with an installed product.
This had caused some to apply for the 456 Temporary Business visa and then coming to Australia to work in contravention with conditions of that visa.
Consequently, as from 23 March 2013, a new 400 visa was introduced to provide for a temporary work visa for persons required to be in Australia to undertake certain short term activities for periods of up to 6 months in a year (increased from 3 months from 23 November 2014).
The 400 Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) visa was renamed Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) on 19 November 2016, and now consists of two streams, including:
HIGHLY SPECIALISED WORK (400.22)
- This stream is for persons required to be in Australia to perform work of a highly specialised nature.
- The event, activity or work will be non-going, and not to exceed 6 months continuously in duration, and visa holder only allowed to be in Australia for 6 months maximum on the visa.
- The applicant’s activities in Australia will have no adverse effect for employment or training opportunities for Australian citizens or permanent residents.
- The applicant does not intend to pursue any course of study (other than language training) in Australia which might lead to an award, or credits towards a course either in or outside Australia.
- The applicant will not be taking part in an Entertainment program, either as a performer, support staff, director, producer or of any other nature.
AUSTRALIA’S INTERESTS (400.24)
- This stream is for persons required to come to Australia to participate in an event, activity or work directly related to compelling circumstances affecting Australia’s interests.
- The event, activity or work will be non-going, and not to exceed 6 months continuously in duration, and visa holders are only allowed to be in Australia for 6 months maximum on the visa.
It has been reported that the 400 visa, far from bringing skilled professionals to undertake highly specialised projects, has instead been exploited by “unscrupulous employers” to “bring cheap foreign labour at the expense of Australian workers”, and the 400 visa has been labeled as a ‘sleeper’ category of visa with looser restrictions than the 457 visa.