Individuals and Travellers

Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa (subclass 400)

Features

This visa is for people who want to travel to Australia to:

  • do short-term, highly specialised, non-ongoing work
  • in limited circumstances, participate in an activity or work relating to Australia’s interests. ​

Generally the stay period allowed is up to three months but up to six months may be considered in limited circumstances if supported by a strong business case.

Requirements

You might be eligible for this visa if you:

  • have specialised skills, knowledge or experience that can assist Australian business, or
  • are required in Australia for exceptional circumstances of national importance, such as to assist following a natural disaster.

You must be outside Australia when you apply for this visa and at the time your visa application is decided.​

Domestic workers accompanying employers visiting Australia

Domestic workers accompanying their employer/family household travelling to Australia for tourism or a business visit should apply for the subclass 600 Visitor (Tourist or Business Visitor stream) visa until further notice.

Domestic workers need to accompany their employer when travelling to Australia and should have the same travel itinerary as their employer.

Any subclass 400 domestic worker visa applications already lodged will continue to be processed under subclass 400 visa requirements.

About this visa

The Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa (subclass 400) is a temporary visa that lets you enter Australia to:

  • do short-term, highly specialised, non-ongoing work
  • in limited circumstances, participate in an activity or work relating to Australia’s interests.

You must first arrive in Australia within six months of the date the visa is granted, or within a shorter time-frame if granted.

Generally you can stay in Australia for up to three months where required, but depending on your work or activity a longer period of up to six months might be allowed in limited circumstances. Your stay period begins on the day you first enter Australia. If your visa has been granted with multiple entries, you can travel to and from Australia during the stay period granted.

When you receive your visa, you are issued with a visa grant notification letter that explains the conditions of your visa, including the stay period and entry requirements.

You must be outside Australia when you apply for this visa and when your application is decided.

When lodging your subclass 400 visa application, you will need to allow time for the application to be processed, taking into account the date you are intending to travel to Australia. We may take up to one month to assess the application (sometimes longer if health or character checks are required) or within a shorter timeframe if all the required evidence is provided.  It is generally not recommended that you lodge a subclass 400 application more than six months before your intended travel date, as you must first arrive in Australia within six months of the date the visa is granted, or within a shorter time-frame if granted.

Changes from 19 November 2016

The Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa (subclass 400) no longer includes an Invited Participant stream.

If you have been invited by an organisation to participate in social or cultural activities on a short-term basis of up to three months, you might be eligible for a Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408).

What this visa lets you do

This visa lets you:

  • stay in Australia while your visa is valid (generally up to three months, but up to six months may be allowed in limited circumstances)
  • do short-term, highly specialised, non-ongoing work for which you were granted the visa
  • in limited circumstances, participate in an activity or work relating to Australia’s interests
  • bring members of your family with you to Australia, if they meet the requirements for including family members in your application. Your family members will not be allowed to work in Australia.

We will tell you how many times you can enter Australia on this visa.

  • If you are granted a single entry visa, you will only be allowed to enter Australia once. If so, you will need to apply for a new visa if you want to return to Australia after you leave.
  • If you are granted a multiple entry visa, you will be able to travel to and from Australia as many times as you want while your visa is valid. If you need to make a number of return visits during your period of stay you should tell us in the visa application form, including the reason why you need to make the return visits to Australia. 
  • Your stay period begins on the day you first enter Australia. Re-entering Australia does not start a new period of stay.

We will notify you of the period of time you have to first enter Australia and your total period of stay allowed in your visa grant letter.

Before you apply

Your passport

You and your family members must have valid passports to be granted this visa.

Cost

The visa application charges are listed in Fees and charges.

You might not need to pay this application charge if you are:

  • coming to Australia to act as a representative of a foreign government
  • listed in a legislative instrument (your inviting organisation will tell you if this applies to you).

Other costs

You could have to pay other costs, such as the costs of health assessments and police certificates, or any other certificates or tests. You are responsible for making the necessary arrangements.

Visa applicants

This information tells you what you need to do to apply for a Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa (subclass 400).

Who could get this visa

You can apply for this visa if you want to enter Australia to:

  • do short-term, highly specialised, non-ongoing work
  • in limited circumstances, participate in an activity or work relating to Australia’s interests.

To apply, you must be able to show that:

  • the work or activity you want to do is short term and non-ongoing
  • you need to be in Australia to do the work or activity
  • you have personal attributes or an employment background relevant to the work or activity
  • you have enough money to support yourself and your accompanying family members while you are in Australia
  • where applicable, you have the support of the organisation for which you will be working or which invited you to Australia
  • you meet health and character requirements.

Limitations on your work or activity

Your work or activity must be non-ongoing. This means that you can finish it in six months or less. Do not make arrangements to stay in Australia any longer than that. You also should not agree to being rotated through a position on a short-term basis as one of a number of overseas workers. Instead, you need to consider a Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) if the position is ongoing, even if your contract is for less than six months.

You usually cannot work in the entertainment industry on this visa. There is more information in Working in the entertainment industry.

Your work or activity cannot have an adverse impact on the employment, training opportunities or conditions of employment in Australia.

Course of study

As a highly specialised worker, you cannot study for any course that either:

  • leads to finishing a primary or secondary education programme
  • leads to a degree, diploma, trade certificate or other formal award
  • could be credited towards or accepted as a prerequisite for a course of studies at a higher educational institution in or outside Australia. The only exception is a language training programme.

Note: This study restriction does not apply to applicants granted the visa in Australia’s interest or to family members of a primary visa holder granted in the Australia’s Interest stream.

Workplace-based training

Generally, you cannot undertake training on this visa. You might be eligible for the Training visa (subclass 407) if you want to do workplace-based training.

Working in the entertainment industry

This visa does not allow a person to:

  • perform as an entertainer in Australia or support an entertainer or group of entertainers performing in Australia
  • direct, produce or take any other part in a production that will be shown, broadcast or performed in Australia (including theatre, film, television, radio, concert or a recording).

You might consider applying for the Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408) if you want to come to Australia to do these activities.

You can apply for a Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa (subclass 400) to:

  • direct, produce or have any other role in a production that will not be shown in Australia (you will need to provide a distribution contract or other evidence to support this)
  • come to Australia for a promotional activity, for example:
    • an actor visiting Australia for a red carpet premiere
    • a rock band in Australia for a promotional tour but no performances.

Financial requirements

While you are in Australia, you must be able to support yourself and your family members who come with you to Australia. You might be asked to provide evidence of funds, such as an employment contract, bank statements or a letter from your financial institution stating your financial position. Allowances, accommodation and other assistance from your employer can also be considered when looking at your ability to support yourself.

Health requirements

You must meet certain health requirements. The health examinations you need will depend on your personal circumstances, including your period of stay, country of citizenship, time spent in another country during the last five years and your intended activities in Australia. The results of your health examinations are generally valid for 12 months.

Health insurance

You are responsible for all your health costs in Australia. You will not be covered by Australia's national health scheme (Medicare) while you hold this visa unless your country has a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia.

We recommend that you take out health insurance each time you travel to Australia.

Character requirements

You must meet certain character requirements. You must be prepared to provide a police certificate from each country you have lived in for 12 months or more during the past 10 years after you turned 16 years of age. Do not arrange for police certificates until we ask you to.

This also applies to all members of your family unit in your application who are 16 years of age or older.

Debts to the Australian Government

You must have no outstanding debts to the Australian Government or have arranged to repay any outstanding debts to the Australian Government before this visa can be granted.

This also applies to all dependent family members in your application who are 18 years of age or older.

Provide Biometrics

You might be asked to provide biometrics (a scientific form of identification) as part of the application. Countries and visa subclasses included in the biometrics program has more information.

Highly specialised work

You can apply for this visa to do short-term, highly specialised, non-ongoing work in Australia if you have specialised skills, knowledge or experience that:

  • can assist Australian business and
  • cannot reasonably be found in the Australian labour market.

The visa is not for short-term employment in an ongoing position, nor for undertaking generic skilled duties that can be done by available Australian skilled workers with similar experience and qualifications

Highly specialised work is usually work that either:

As a highly specialised worker:

  • your work or activity cannot have an adverse impact on the employment, training opportunities or conditions of employment in Australia
  • you cannot study for any course in Australia that either:
    • leads to finishing a primary or secondary education programme
    • leads to a degree, diploma, trade certificate or other formal award
    • could be credited towards or accepted as a prerequisite for a course of studies at a higher educational institution in or outside Australia. The only exception is a language training programme.
  • you cannot perform as an entertainer in Australia or support an entertainer or group of entertainers performing in Australia; or direct, produce or take any other part in a production that will be shown, broadcast or performed in Australia (including theatre, film, television, radio, concert or a recording).

Generally, it is expected that the work will be completed within three months, but in some cases up to six months might be considered. If a period of more than three months is required, a strong business case must be provided with your visa application to support the extended period of stay. 

The business case should provide information on the following:

  • the nature, size, duration and importance of a project to the local community
  • evidence that specialist advice/expertise from overseas is required
  • the number of Australians being employed on the project and/or by the business
  • time available for an Australian to be trained to do the proposed work over a longer period
  • remuneration paid in accordance with Australian wages and conditions.

Intermittent work

Generally, a total stay of no more than three months in any 12 month period may be allowed. This can be one visit for three months; or numerous visits for short periods over the 12 months (where subsequent visas have been granted). Where the cumulative stay in any 12 month period will exceed three months, a strong business case must be provided to explain the need for further return visits.

Emergency workers and other exceptional circumstances

In very limited circumstances, this visa may be granted to someone if there are compelling circumstances affecting Australia’s interest. In these cases, the department needs to be satisfied that the activity identified in the visa application is of national significance.

For example, this visa could be granted to emergency workers to come to Australia after a natural disaster.

Including family in your application

Each family member you want to bring with you to Australia must be included in your visa application.

These family members must meet the requirements for including family members in your application. You must provide evidence of their relationship to you. This could include marriage certificates, birth certificates, joint bank accounts and other relevant documents.

Your family members must also be able to show that they meet Australia’s health and character requirements.

Family members included in your application are not permitted to work in Australia. Therefore, you must be able to show that you and your family have enough money to support yourselves while in Australia.

Your family members will need to lodge their own application for this or another visa if:

  • you do not include them in your visa application or
  • they want to work in Australia or
  • if you are a highly specialised worker and they want to study towards a formal qualification in Australia (except a language training programme).

Combining your work/activity with a short-term holiday

Combining a holiday with your intended work or activity may be allowed if the holiday is of short term duration and secondary to the main purpose of your visit. You must indicate in your visa application if you intend to combine your work or activity with a holiday, as the period of stay considered will generally be only for the period that allows you to undertake the work or activity.

Alternatively, you can consider applying for a Visitor visa to have your holiday in Australia. To do this, you may first apply for the Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa (subclass 400) to undertake the work or activity and then a Visitor visa (once you are in Australia) for your holiday.

How to apply

This information explains what you need to do to apply for a Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa (subclass 400).

You and anyone included in your visa application must be outside Australia when the application is lodged and when it is decided.

When lodging your visa application, you will need to allow time for the application to be processed, taking into account the date you are intending to travel to Australia.  We might take up to one month for the application to be assessed (sometimes longer if health or character checks are required) or within a shorter timeframe if all the required evidence is provided.

It is generally not recommended that you lodge a subclass 400 application more than six months before your intended travel date, as you must arrive in Australia within six months or less from the date the visa is granted, otherwise you will need to re-apply.

Prepare your documents

You need to provide documents to prove the claims you make in the application. The documents are listed in the document checklist below.

Some of the documents could take some time to obtain. You should have them ready when you lodge your application to reduce any delays in processing.

Lodge your application

You must apply for this visa online using ImmiAccount.

You should upload all relevant documents with your online application and pay the visa application charge when you apply (if applicable).

More information

Please refer to preparing your application, for information on:

  • certifying and translating documents into English
  • communicating with us
  • using a migration agent
  • authorising another person to receive information from us
  • receiving assistance with your application.​​​​

​After you have applied

After you have lodged the application and documents, we will let you know that we have received your information.

You can track and manage your application using ImmiAccount.

Track and manage your application

A Transaction Reference Number (TRN) is a unique number assigned to each online application. You will need this to:

  • track and manage your application
  • identify your application when you communicate with us
  • check your visa entitlements.

You will need to login to your ImmiAccount. You can use your account to:

  • continue a saved application​
  • attach documents
  • update passport details
  • change email and address details
  • check progress of your application.

Wait for a decision

We have service standards related to the time it takes to process applications for this visa.

Your application could take longer if you need character or health checks (including x-rays), if you need to provide more information, or if your application is incomplete.

Do not make arrangements to travel to Australia until you are advised in writing that you have been granted a visa. If you are granted a visa, we will send you a visa grant letter.

Provide more information

You can provide more information to us at any time until a decision is made on the application. You can do this using ImmiAccount.

If you want to correct information you provided, use the following form and submit it using ImmiAccount:

We could also ask you for more information. You will have to respond by a set date. After that date, we can make a decision about your application using the information that we have.

If another person gives us information that could result in you being refused a visa, we will usually give you the opportunity to comment on the information.

You might also be interviewed. If you are asked to attend an interview in person, bring your passport or other identification and any requested documents to the interview.

Report changes in circumstances

You can do this using ImmiAccount.

The following online forms are available in ImmiAccount:

  • Appointment or withdrawal of an authorised recipient (including migration agent)
  • Change of address details
  • Change of email address details
  • Change of passport details
  • Notification of changes in circumstances
  • Notification of incorrect answer(s)

Withdrawing your application

You can withdraw the application at any time before we make a decision about it. To do this, send us a letter or email to ask for the withdrawal. Your request must include your full name, date of birth, and the date of your application. If you know it, you should also include the number we gave you when you applied – this could be a file reference number, client ID, or a transaction record number.

Everyone included in the application who is 18 years of age or older must sign the letter of withdrawal or send a separate email.

There are limited circumstances in which the visa application charge can be refunded.

Visa decision

If the visa is granted, we will let you know:

  • when you can use the visa
  • the visa grant number
  • any conditions attached to the visa.

You will not have a visa label placed in your passport.

If the visa is refused, we will send you a letter or email stating why it was refused.

Document checklist

You must provide documents to support your application for this visa. We can make a decision using the information you provide when you lodge your application. It is in your interest to provide as much information as possible with your application.

You must provide certified copies of original documents. Do not include original documents unless we specifically ask for them. Documents not in English must be accompanied by accredited English translations.

Use this checklist to make sure your application is complete.

Forms

  • For anyone included in the application who is 18 years of age or older and is not your partner:
  • If you want to bring a child younger than 18 years of age with you to Australia, and that child’s other parent is not included in the application: documentary evidence that you have the legal right to bring that child to Australia, such as:
  • You must also provide one of these documents if you are applying for this visa and you are younger than 18 years of age and you are travelling without one or both parents or guardians.

Receiving assistance

Charges

  • Pay the visa application charge or provide one of the following documents to show that you do not need to pay the charge:​
    • To act as a representative of a foreign government: a letter from your ministry or government.
    • If you are in a class of people participating in an activity specified in a legislative instrument: evidence from the inviting organisation that you are in that class of people.

Your identity

  • Certified copies of the biographical pages of the current passports or travel documents of all people included in the application (these are the pages with the holder's photo and personal details and the issue/expiry dates).
  • A certified copy of your birth certificate showing both parents' names. If you do not have a birth certificate and are unable to get one, you must provide a certified copy of the identification pages of at least one of the following documents:
    • family book showing both parents' names
    • identification document issued by the government
    • court-issued documents that verify your identity.
  • A national identity card if you have one.
  • If your name has changed or the name of anyone included in your application has changed: a certified copy of evidence of the name change.

If you are unable to provide any of these documents, you must provide other acceptable evidence that you are who you claim to be.

If your partner is included in the application: provide a copy of your marriage certificate or independent evidence that you are in a de facto relationship (for example, joint bank account statements or billing accounts in joint names).

Doing highly specialised work

  • Letter of job offer or your employment contract showing details of the position, the duration of the work, your role or duties and the reason you are required. The evidence should also include that your employment conditions satisfy Australian workplace standards and that your activities will not adversely impact Australian workers.
  • If you are doing freelance work: a copy of your proposed itinerary.
  • If you are applying to work on an entertainment industry production: evidence that the production will not be shown in Australia, such as a distribution contract.

Assisting in a national emergency

  • A letter of support from an Australian Commonwealth, state or territory emergency authority.

Foreign Affairs student or recipient

  • A letter of support from the Australian Foreign Minister.
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Visa holders

This information is for people who have already been granted a Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa (subclass 400). It explains your rights and obligations.

Workers in Australia – including visa holders with permission to work – have rights under Australian workplace law.

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s Pay and Conditions Tool (PACT) provides information on pay rates, shift calculations, leave arrangements and notice and redundancy entitlements. See also: Workplace rights for all visa holders working in Australia

You can use Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) for free to check your visa details and entitlements.

How long your visa lasts

Generally this visa is granted for up to three months, but depending on your work or activity a longer period of up to six months might be allowed in limited circumstances.

We will tell you how long you can stay in the visa grant letter. Your visa will be valid during the stay period you have been granted, which will commence from the date you first enter Australia.

You must arrive in Australia within six months of the date the visa is granted, or within a shorter time-frame if granted. We will notify you of the period of time you have to first enter Australia in your visa grant letter.

What this visa lets you do

This visa lets you:

  • stay in Australia while your visa is valid (generally up to three months, but up to six months may be allowed)
  • bring your family with you to Australia if you included them in your visa application and they meet the requirements for including family members in your application
  • do the work or activity for which you were granted the visa, either:
    • short-term, highly specialised, non-ongoing work
    • in limited circumstances, participate in an activity or work relating to Australia’s interests.

We will tell you how many times you can enter Australia on this visa.

  • If you are granted a single entry visa, you will only be allowed to enter Australia once. If so, you will need to apply for a new visa if you want to return to Australia after you leave.
  • If you are granted a multiple entry visa, you will be able to travel to and from Australia as many times as you want while your visa is valid. If you need to make a number of return visits during your period of stay, you must tell us in the visa application form and provide the reason why you need to make return visits to Australia.
  • Your visa will only be valid during the period of stay that you have been granted, and this will commence from the date of your first entry to Australia. Re-entering Australia does not start a new period of stay.

Your obligations

You and your family must comply with all visa conditions and Australian laws.

You must do only the work or activities for which your visa was granted. You will need to lodge a new application for this visa if you want to:

  • participate in a different activity or activities than you listed in your application
  • work for an organisation that is not one of the organisations you identified in your application.

Note: You cannot apply for this visa while in Australia. You must be outside of Australia when you apply and when your application is decided.

As a highly specialised worker, you cannot study for any course that either:

  • leads to finishing a primary or secondary education programme
  • leads to a degree, diploma, trade certificate or other formal award
  • could be credited towards or accepted as a prerequisite for a course of studies at a higher educational institution in or outside Australia. The only exception is a language training programme.

Note: This study restriction does not apply to applicants granted the visa in Australia’s interest or to family members of a primary visa holder granted in the Australia’s Interest stream.

Your family

Your family members cannot work while they are in Australia if they were included in your application for this visa.

No further stay

If you have a ‘No further stay’ condition on your visa, you cannot apply for a different type of visa while you are in Australia, except in extremely limited circumstances. You must leave Australia no later than the date on which your visa ends.

Report changes in circumstances

You should tell us if your circumstances change. In particular, you must tell us about changes that occur after your visa is granted but before you travel to Australia.

You can use the following forms:

You can upload these forms using ImmiAccount.

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Estimate the cost of your visa

* Price will be displayed in Australian dollars unless changed.
The following Visa Pricing Estimator requires you to answer the questions as accurately as possible to provide you with an estimate for lodging a visa application. The estimator does not include the second instalment of the visa application charge which is payable for some visas. Please note this is an estimate for a visa application, if you have already lodged your application and you want to change/add applicants please refer to the Visa Pricing Table. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection Visa Pricing Estimator will give you an estimate of the charges you may need to pay to lodge a visa application. This is paid after you have made your application but before the visa can be granted. Read the department's full disclaimer. The Commonwealth of Australia does not guarantee the accuracy, currency or completeness of any material in the Visa Pricing Estimator.