Tourism and Hospitality Added to Critical Sectors

This week the Minister for Immigration has introduced changes to the Subclass 408 COVID-19 Pandemic Event visa and Subclass 500 Student visa for workers in the Hospitality and Tourism sectors.


Newly released legislation defines a business as being in the tourism and hospitality sector where it is classified under the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) system as being in the division of 'Accommodation and Food Services'.

This division includes Cafes, Restaurants, Takeaway Food Providers, Pubs, Taverns, Bars, Night Clubs, Hotels, Motels, Resorts, Ski Lodges, and Hostels.

The legislation also allows for businesses whose primary purpose is to directly provide a service to tourists, even when their activities are not listed as an Accommodation and Food Service under the ANZSIC system.

COVID-19 Pandemic Event Visa

Effective immediately, temporary visa holders working or intending to work in tourism and hospitality will be able to access a 12-month Subclass 408 COVID-19 Pandemic Event visa with work rights.

Applicants can apply within 90 days of visa expiry - an extension on the current 28-day requirement - to be able to continue working and supporting an area critical to Australia's economic recovery.

Student Visa

Student visa holders employed in tourism and hospitality are now able to work beyond their 40-hour per fortnight limit. They join the list of specified industries including:

  • Those employed by an aged care Approved Provider or Commonwealth-funded aged care service provider with a RACS ID or a NAPS ID, before 8 September 2020
  • Those employed by a registered National Disability Insurance Scheme provider
  • Those enrolled in a health care related course and supporting the health effort against COVID-19, as directed by health officials
  • Those employed in the agriculture sector

Further information is available on the Department of Immigration website.

Please note the Student visa changes are temporary, however, there has been no announced end date at this stage.


As legislation and travel requirements are constantly changing, we strongly recommend obtaining advice on your individual situation from a Registered Migration Agent.

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