Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403)

Features

This visa allows you to come to Australia on a temporary basis:

  • in relation to a bilateral agreement (Government Agreement stream)
  • to represent a foreign government or to teach a foreign language in an Australian school (Foreign Government Agency stream)
  • to do domestic work for a diplomat (Domestic Worker stream)
  • as a person with statutory privileges and immunities (Privileges and Immunities stream)
  • to participate in the program of seasonal work (Seasonal Worker Program stream).

Eligibility

You must:

  • be engaged under a relevant bilateral agreement (Government Agreement stream)
  • represent a foreign government agency or be employed as a foreign language teacher by a foreign government (Foreign Government Agency stream)
  • have privileges and immunities under a relevant act (Privileges and Immunities stream)
  • be a domestic worker for a subclass 995 visa holder (Domestic Worker stream)
  • be a resident of the Pacific Islands (Seasonal Worker Programme stream)
  • meet additional requirements of the relevant stream

Length of stay

  • Government Agreement stream - up to 2 years
  • Foreign Government Agency stream - up to 4 years
  • Privileges and Immunities stream – while you are an international representative
  • Seasonal Worker Programme stream – from 4 to 7 months

Cost

From AUD 280

Learn about...

The process

Processing time

Stream75 per cent of applications processed90 per cent of applications processed
Seasonal Worker Programme 3 days 9 days
Government Agreement 12 days 30 days
Foreign Government Agency Unavailable due to low volume of applications. Unavailable due to low volume of applications.
Domestic Worker (Diplomatic or Consular)Unavailable due to low volume of applications.Unavailable due to low volume of applications.
Privileges and ImmunitiesUnavailable due to low volume of applications.Unavailable due to low volume of applications.

Last updated 16 October 2017 (for month ending 30 September 2017)

Processing times vary.

For more information read Global visa and citizenship processing times

Eligibility

Who could get this visa

You might be able to get this visa if you:

  • have a genuine intention to stay temporarily in Australia
  • have adequate financial support for you and your family while you are in Australia
  • have adequate arrangements for health insurance for you and your family while you are in Australia
  • meet health and character requirements
  • meet the requirements of the stream under which you are applying for the visa
  • if you are in Australia when you apply for the visa, you must hold a qualifying visa.

This visa is not for representatives of foreign governments or foreign government agencies who are accredited by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), such as diplomats, United Nations agency executives and consular officials.

Qualifying visas

    If you are applying in Australia, you must hold a current temporary substantive visa, but not any one of the following:
  • Temporary Work (international Relations) visa (subclass 403) in the Domestic Worker (Diplomatic or Consular) stream unless you are applying for a further subclass 403 visa in the Domestic Worker (Diplomatic or Consular) stream; or
  • Transit visa (subclass 771); or
  • a Special Purpose visa.

Financial support

You need to have the financial capacity to support you and your family while you are in Australia. You could be asked to provide evidence of your financial capacity with your visa application. Check the Document Checklist Tool below to find out what evidence you may be asked to provide.

Health requirements

You must meet certain health requirements. The health examinations will depend on your personal circumstances, including your period of stay, country of citizenship, time spent in other countries 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 while you are in Australia. You will not be covered by Australia's national health scheme (Medicare) unless your country has a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia.

You must have adequate health insurance unless you are covered by Medicare.

This applies to you and any dependent family members listed in the application.

If you are not entitled to Medicare benefits, you can ask for an exemption from Australia’s Medicare levy in your end-of-year tax return

Character requirements

You must meet certain character requirements. If you are applying for a stay in Australia of longer than 12 months, you must 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. This also applies to all dependent family members listed in the application who are 16 years of age or older. You must provide a certified English translation with all documents that are not in English.

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 applies to you and any dependent family members listed in your application who are 18 years of age or older.

The visa

About this visa

This is a temporary visa.

What this visa lets you do

    This visa allows you to:
  • enter Australia temporarily
  • do the work or activity specified in your visa application
  • enter and leave Australia while your visa is valid.
  • work for your sponsor (Seasonal Worker Program stream only)
  • anywhere in Australia if you work in horticulture
  • in limited locations in tourism (accommodation), sugar cane farming, cotton farming or aquaculture.

Cost

From AUD 280

Privileges and Immunities stream - From AUD 0

You might not need to pay the visa application charge if any of the following apply:

  • you hold a valid diplomatic, official or service passport and have a Third Person Note from your government
  • you have been accorded, or expect to be accorded, privileges and immunities and be recommended by the Foreign Minister for the grant of a visa
  • you are in a class of persons specified by the Minister in a legislative instrument, such as a Fulbright scholar coming to Australia as part of your scholarship.

You must provide evidence to show that your application is exempt from the visa application charge.

Other costs

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

Use the Visa pricing estimator to estimate the cost of your application.

Visa pricing estimator

Note: The estimator does not calculate additional costs.

Location

If you apply under the Government Agreement, Foreign Government Agency or Privileges and Immunities streams you can be either in or outside Australia at the time of lodgement and grant.

If you apply under Domestic Worker stream outside Australia, you must be outside Australia when your visa is granted. If you apply under this stream in Australia you must be in Australia at time of grant. Domestic worker applicants can only apply for this visa in Australia if they already hold a substantive subclass 403 visa.

If you apply under Seasonal Worker Program stream you must be outside Australia at the time of lodgement and grant.

How long your visa lasts

Government Agreement stream: Your visa is valid for a maximum of two years, or a shorter period approved by your Foreign Ministry or government agency or the Australian signatory to the bilateral agreement.
Foreign Government Agency stream: Your visa is valid for a maximum of four years, or a shorter period approved by your Foreign Ministry or government agency.
Privileges and Immunities stream: Your visa is valid for the period of your status as an international representative with privileges and immunities.
Domestic Worker stream: Your visa is valid for the duration of your employer’s posting to Australia.
Seasonal Worker Program stream: Your visa will be valid until a specified date, usually it will be the length of your employment in Australia, and any additional time for you to travel to and from the place you are employed.

Family

Your family members must apply separately if you do not include them in your application for this visa.

You cannot bring your family if you apply under the Domestic Worker stream or the Seasonal Worker Program stream

Renewing your visa

If you want to stay longer once you are in Australia (except for the Seasonal Worker Program stream visa holders), you might be able to do so by completing a new visa application, providing appropriate evidence, and paying the visa application charge.

With appropriate approval and support the Domestic Worker stream applicants can apply for another 403 visa within the same stream.

Workplace rights in Australia

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

Your obligations

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

    During your stay in Australia, you and your family must:
  • maintain adequate health insurance
  • continue to meet the requirements of the visa stream in which you were granted the visa
  • continue to work in the activity for which the visa was granted.
    If you applied under the Seasonal Worker Program steam you must:
  • continue to be employed by your sponsor
  • only do the work in the industry covered by the visa
  • cannot work for yourself or anyone other than the sponsor.

Employers (Domestic Worker stream)

Who can employ a domestic worker

Diplomatic visa holders who want to employ domestic workers from outside Australia to work in their households in Australia on a Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403) must meet these requirements.

Employer obligations

    You must:
  • ensure the domestic worker is employed only to perform domestic duties in your private household
  • tell the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade when your domestic worker first arrives in Australia and when they finally leave
  • ensure you employ pay your domestic worker in Australian workplace conditions as well as applicable state and territory legislation.
  • ensure that the domestic worker leaves Australia when they finish working for you.

Sponsors (Seasonal Worker Program stream)

To become a Temporary Activities sponsor you must lodge your application online through your ImmiAccount.

Who can sponsor a seasonal worker

For the Seasonal Worker Program, the sponsor must be an approved employer recruiting seasonal workers for the horticulture, tourism (accommodation), aquaculture, sugar cane or cotton industries.

How long the sponsorship lasts

The temporary activities sponsorship lasts for five years.

If you are approved as a temporary activities sponsor, you can apply to vary (extend) your sponsorship before it expires to allow you to continue to sponsor people. If the sponsorship period expires, you will need to reapply and be approved as a sponsor, to sponsor further visa applicants.

Sponsorship applications lodged before 19 November 2016

If you were approved as a special program sponsor before 19 November 2016

If you applied for approval before 19 November 2016 as a special program sponsor.

From 19 May 2017 you must apply online for approval as a Temporary Activities Sponsor if you want to sponsor a Subclass 403 visa applicant.

Sponsor obligations

You are responsible for meeting all your obligations, even if you have someone else authorised to act on your behalf, including a migration agent.

Monitoring of sponsors and visa holders

You must comply with your obligations as a sponsor. We monitor your compliance with the sponsorship obligations and whether your visa holders are upholding their visa conditions.

Your compliance with the sponsorship obligations might be investigated by Immigration inspectors who have investigative powers under the Migration Act 1958. Failure to cooperate with inspectors is a breach of the sponsorship obligations.

Sanctions for not meeting your sponsor obligations

Follow these steps

  1. Before you apply

    Your passport

    If you plan to get a new passport, you should do so before applying for your visa. In most cases, you and your family members must have valid passports to be granted this visa.

  2. Gather documents

    Prepare your documents

    You need to 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. Provide certified copies of original documents. Do not include original documents unless we specifically ask for them. Police certificates should be original documents. Documents not in English must be accompanied by accredited English translations.

  3. Apply

    Apply for the visa online

    You can apply for this visa online or lodge a paper application. The Department encourages online lodgement of visa applications. Online applications are generally processed quicker than paper applications.

    You must provide all relevant documents and pay the visa application charge when you apply.

    If you do not provide the documents requested, your visa application could be refused.

    Apply for sponsorship

    You must lodge your sponsorship application online.
    After you have gathered and scanned all relevant documents you need to create an account and lodge your application using our online system – ImmiAccount.

    You will need to upload your documents and pay the visa sponsorship application charge by credit card or BPay when you apply through your ImmiAccount. The sponsor application charges are listed in Fees and charges.

    More information

    There is more information to help you prepare your application, such as certifying and translating documents into English, communicating with us, using a migration agent, authorising another person to receive information from us, and receiving assistance with your application.

  4. After you apply

    Track and manage your online application

    A Transaction Reference Number (TRN) is a unique number assigned to each online application.

      You can use your ImmiAccount to:
    • continue a saved application
    • attach documents
    • update passport details
    • change email and address details
    • check progress of your application

    Wait for a decision

      You can provide more information to us, at any time until a decision is made on the application. If you want to correct information you provided, use:
    • Form 1023 - Notification of incorrect answer(s) (99KB PDF)

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

    If you apply outside Australia

    If you apply for this visa from outside Australia, do not make arrangements to travel to Australia until you are advised in writing that you have been granted a visa.

    If you apply in Australia

    If you apply for this visa in Australia, you could be able to get a Bridging visa that allows you to stay in the country lawfully while your application is processed. If you are given a Bridging visa A, you can apply for Bridging visa B (BVB) to travel outside Australia while you wait for a decision.

    Provide more information

    You can provide more information to us, at any time until a decision is made on the application.

    Online applications
    Any additional documentation you need to submit should be uploaded into ImmiAccount. If you provide your documents through any other channel, it will result in processing delays. Paper applications

      If you want to correct information you provided, use:
    • Form 1023 - Notification of incorrect answer(s) (99 kB pdf).

    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.

    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 website has more information.

    Tell us of changes

    You must tell us if your circumstances change. This includes a new residential address, a new passport, or a pregnancy, birth, divorce, separation, marriage, de facto relationship or death in your family.

    More information is available in the Update Us tab.

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

      If the visa is not granted, we will let you know:
    • why the visa was refused
    • your review rights (if any). Where applicable, your sponsor can apply for the decision to be reviewed
    • the time limit for lodging an appeal.

Tell us of changes

Changes to your circumstances

You must tell us if your circumstances change. This includes a new residential address, a new passport, or a pregnancy, birth, divorce, separation, marriage, de facto relationship or death in your family.

    You can use the following forms:
  • Form 929 - Change of address and/or passport details (86 kB pdf) — if you move to a new address or change your passport
  • Form 1022 - Notification of changes in circumstances (77 kB pdf) — if there are other changes in your circumstances.

If you do not provide us with the details of any new passport issued to you, you could experience significant delays at the airport and may be denied permission to board your plane.

For applications lodged online, report any changes in circumstances using ImmiAccount.

Withdrawing your visa application

You can withdraw the application at any time before we make a decision about it.

Applications lodged online can be withdrawn using ImmiAccount.

If you lodged a paper application, send us a letter or email to ask for the withdrawal. Your request must include your full name and date of birth. You should also include your file reference number, client ID, or a Transaction Reference Number (TRN).

All applicants 18 years of age or older who want to withdraw, must sign the request for withdrawal.

Estimate the cost of your visa

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 might 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.