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Temporary Work (Subclass 400) visas for highly specialised non-ongoing work

This visa might be suitable if an individual has specialised skills, knowledge or experience not generally available in Australia.

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

The 400 visa is a temporary work visa which permits highly skilled individuals to obtain short term visas for up to 3 months (in some cases, 6 months). For longer periods of work in Australia, you may wish to consider the TSS visa or other employer sponsored visas.

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Target Market
  • Businesses in Australia
  • Business overseas seeking to enter Australia
  • Individuals who are required to work in Australia on highly skilled, short term roles
Visa applicant requirements
  • Have highly specialised skills, knowledge or experience
  • Be able to support yourself and any dependants
  • Be a genuine visitor
  • Health, character and English requirements
What does it permit?
  • Can be granted for up to 6 months (depending on the circumstances)
  • For a stay period longer than 3 months, a strong business case must be provided with the application
  • Cannot be applied for in Australia
  • Does not permit a longer stay by extending this visa
  • Permits work in a highly specialised job
  • The work or activity must be non-ongoing
What is it?

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

The Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) (subclass 400) visa is a temporary visa which allows individuals to enter Australia to (1) conduct short-term, highly specialised, non-ongoing work and (2) in limited circumstances, participate in an activity or work relating to Australia’s interests. Contact us to determine if this is the most appropriate visa for you. 

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This subclass 400 visa is a temporary work visa applied for by the individual and is not an employer-sponsored visa. It is suitable for potential short-term non-resident workers for up to with specialised skills, expertise or work experience not generally available in the Australian labour market.

The subclass 400 visa is a common choice for Australian employers seeking a temporary work visa for highly specific non-ongoing work, and they do not require the application for sponsorship or nomination applications (as required in 482 visa for example). Instead, the Australian employer has to supply the applicant with a letter of support, clearly setting out the nature of the work and why the foreign employee is appropriate for the position. Applicants for temporary work visas must be outside of Australia when applying for this visa and when a decision is made on the application.

This subclass 400 visa is granted in most instances for three months, with the potential of six months in limited circumstances depending on the situation. A strong business case with the application needs to be communicated for an extended stay to be approved.

The temporary work visa may authorise single or multiple entries with the period of stay beginning from the first arrival date. If the visa has been granted with multiple entries, the period of stay shall not be restarted each time the holder of the visa returns to Australia.

Whilst subclass 400 visa holders allow for family members to accompany them, the family members are unable to work or study in Australia except to complete a language training course and as such, you must provide evidence of your capacity to support a reasonable standard of living for any accompanying family members.


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

We’ll advise and guide you from assessing eligibility to lodgement stage. We use an online document / information collection tool so that all your files and information are stored in one single location. You can use the Hannan Tew Portal to track the status of your matter and have a complete overview of documents required and provided.

Step 1 – Before you apply

Before you apply, you should:

  1. assess and determine whether you meet the eligibility criteria (including in relation to health and character)
  2. decide whether to retain an Immigration Lawyer (such as Hannan Tew Lawyers) or Registered Migration Agent to help you fill out forms or provide you with advice in relation to your eligibility and desired outcome.
Step 2 – Gather your documents

Collect and organise the required documentation to verify your identity and demonstrate that you have the support from your employer, the financial capacity to support yourself and any family members.

See “documents” tab for specific documents.

If you are receiving assistance or advice from lawyers or a migration agent, the following form may also be applicable: Form 956 Advice by a migration agent/exempt person of providing immigration assistance (297KB PDF)

Ensure to have all non-English documents translated into English by a NAATI accredited interpreter and scan all documents in colour to an image or PDF file.

Step 3 – Apply for the visa

Apply for the visa online in ImmiAccount:

  1. Create an account or login to ImmiAccount
  2. Fill out the application form
  3. Attach documents
  4. Ensure family applications processed together
  5. Pay the application fee of AUD$310 (except in limited circumstances) plus any additional fees for accompanying family
  6. Note the transaction reference number (TRN)

Your application can’t be processed until you pay the visa application charge.

Step 4 – After the application

The DHA will send a confirmation letter (via email and/or the ImmiAccount portal messaging system) once your application and associated documentation has been received. 

The standard processing times from the DHA for the Subclass 400 Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) Visa is as follows:

  • 75% of applications: 26 days
  • 90% of applications: 51 days

No updates on the application will be provided during the standard processing time. If more information is required, a request needs to be made via the ImmiAccount portal.

Do not travel to Australia until the outcome of your visa application is received and you have been granted the visa. If you are in Australia during the application process, ensure you hold a valid substantive visa or Bridging Visa until the application is processed.  

Be sure to advise the DHA if there are any mistakes on your application by submitting a Notice of Incorrect Answers, or if your personal circumstances change after you have applied.

Step 5 – Visa outcome

The DHA will advise you of their decision via email.

If your visa is granted, you’ll receive:

  • your visa grant number
  • the date your visa starts
  • your visa conditions

Retain a copy of the email with you whilst in Australia.

If refused, the DHA will outline the reasons why they denied the visa.

You will not ordinarily be refunded the application charge if your application is declined.


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

The subclass 400 visa is divided into three separate ‘streams’.

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The subclass 400 visa is divided into three separate ‘streams’. These streams allow applicants to enter Australia to participate in the following activities:

Stream Description
Highly specialised work Short-term, non-ongoing, highly specialised work; Typically, applicants will have skills in an occupation such as Managers, Professionals, Technicians and Trade Workers listed under Australia and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO).
Australia’s interest stream

Discretionary power allowing the visa to be granted where it would be in Australia’s interest, including:

  • Emergency or disaster relief workers; or
  • Applicants with the support of a foreign government; or
  • Applicants who can contribute a significant benefit to Australia’s business, economic, cultural or other development. 

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

The actual documents you require are dependent on your particular circumstances including (but not limited to) your family members, your health and character, your identity and your occupation. Your Hannan Tew advisor will provide you with a link to the Hannan Tew portal which will set out the specific documents required. You can also refer to a more detailed checklist here.

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  • Biographical pages of your current passports or travel documents
  • Full quality passport sized photograph of yourself
Family relationships
  • Passport bio data page for each family member
  • Full quality passport sized photograph of each family member
  • Birth certificate for each family member (translated)
  • If in a married relationship, a copy of your marriage certificate (translated)
  • If in de facto relationship, evidence of at least 6 months of (i) shared finances (bank / credit card statements) (ii)living together (lease,
    correspondence at same address) and (iii) social (messages to each
  • If children are between 18 and 23, evidence of financial dependency: (i) reside in the same household (E.g. correspondence to the same address) (ii) financially dependency (e.g. bank statements) (iii) studying (E.g. university enrollment)
  • If including a child under 18 where a parent is not included, evidence of custody (legal documents and Form 1229)
Occupations and skills
  • Your up to date CV covering at least 5 years
  • Educational qualification certificates
  • Registration, licensing and professional membership
    certificate (as relevant)
  • Invitation letter for your Australian employer which should contain the following details:
    • the project including the nature, size and duration of the
      project, as well as the importance of the project to the local
      community and any potential impacts to the business/community
      should the project not be able to proceed (including the impact on
      employment opportunities for Australian workers)
    • specialist advice/ expertise from overseas that is required – this
      may include evidence from an employment agency of a shortage of
      similarly qualified persons in Australia
    • any contractual obligations relating to the installation/servicing
      of a piece of equipment
    • any attempts by your proposed employer that they have tried
      unsuccessfully to hire an Australian to do the proposed work (for
      example, evidence of job search, training programs, letter of
      support from relevant union)
    • the number of Australians being employed for the project
      and/or by the business
    • about the time available for an Australian to be trained to do the proposed work over a longer period
  • Position Description for the role
Financial capacity
  • Copies of your last two payslips
  • A copy of your last Tax summary document showing salary (or employment contract)
400 Visas

Frequently Asked Questions

What am I permitted to do on a 400 visa?

The Highly Specialised Work stream of this temporary visa permits you to perform short term, highly specialised work in Australia. It is suitable if you have specialised skills, knowledge or experience generally not available in Australia.

How long is my 400 visa valid for?

400 visas are usually granted with a stay period of up to 3 months, though in limited business cases, it can be granted for up to 6 months.

Who considers this application?

400 visa applications are lodged online with the Australian Department of Home Affairs (Department). They are responsible for processing and finalising your visa application.

How long does the 400 visa take to process?

Processing times vary significantly depending on a number of factors including
your sponsor’s status, your risk profile, Departmental case load, and whether there are any issues with your application. Your Hannan Tew advisor should be able to advise you of current time frames.

Can I commence work before my 400 visa application is approved?

Unless you have an existing visa with work authorisation, you must not commence work with your employer until your 400 visa is approved.

Where do I have to be at time of lodgement and decision of my 400 visa?

The 400 visa requires you to be outside of Australia at time of application and lodgement. Please keep your Hannan Tew advisor aware of your travel arrangements during visa processing.

Can I include my family on my 400 visa?

Yes, you generally can include your spouse/partner and children in your visa application.

They will also receive a 400 Visa, usually valid for the same duration as your visa. However, be aware that they will not be permitted to work.

There are specific requirements for children over the age of 18 to demonstrate dependency.

Children 23 years or above cannot be included except in very limited circumstances.

I have a dependent partner, can they work?

Your family members are generally not allowed to work or study in Australia, except to undertake specific language training plans.

Can I access Medicare or other social security benefits?

Generally no. Citizens of certain countries have access to Medicare under reciprocal arrangements with Australia.

Do I need health, character and / or English assessments?

Depending on your country of nationality, you may require health examinations to process your visa. Your Hannan Tew advisor will advise you of the relevant assessments once you have completed the information questionnaire.

You also generally do not require English assessments.

Should I just book my health examinations and obtain police clearances?

The Department have appointed particular panel doctors who are authorised to conduct health examinations for Australian visa purposes.

If the health examinations are not carried out by these individuals, they will need to be redone.

The Department also require specific police clearances.

Please wait for instructions from your Hannan Tew advisor to ensure that you don’t unnecessarily incur any costs or loss of time.

How many times can I renew my 400 visa?

In legal terms, you can not renew any Australian visas and if you want further stay you are expected to apply for a further visa. However, a further 400 visa application has two issues:

  1. you can not apply for a further 400 visa onshore; and
  2. a further 400 visa application which is not far removed from the original 400 visa application could suggest to the Department that the work is “ongoing” in which case the 400 visa would be refused. A TSS visa may be more appropriate in these circumstances (see here).

How much does this visa cost?

You can refer to our pricing guide here for an estimate of fixed fee professional fees. You will also need to pay government fees for this visa application, which are set out here. Feel free to play around with our cost calculator here, or contact a member of our team directly for a full breakdown of fees.


The information contained here is offered for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or give rise to an attorney-client relationship between you and our firm. The information: (i) must be regarded as a practical guide for general information and not a process guide for determining the specific immigration requirements of the countries covered, (ii) should not be a substitute for a more indepth analysis of applicable facts and circumstances conducted by competent professionals, and (iii) does not represent an opinion from Hannan Tew or any of its agents with regard to the laws of any of the jurisdictions concerned. The information does not guarantee the outcome or approval of any particular immigration application.

What can we do for you?

With extensive experience representing the world’s largest corporations, SMEs, and start ups, our staff are well placed to assist with all issues in relation to the employer sponsored visa process, including: business sponsorship applications, nomination applications, compliance and sponsorship bars.

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