400 Visa Australia – Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist)

April 25, 2024
Iain MacLeod

The Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) Visa, commonly known as the Subclass 400 or the 400 visa, operates as a short-term option for individuals aiming to engage in highly specialised work in Australia. This visa caters exclusively to applicants with specialised skills, knowledge, or experience needed to help Australian businesses and that are scarcely found within the Australian labour market. Unlike various other work visas, the 400 visa is not reliant on employer sponsorship but does necessitate support from an Australian business.

The 400 visa tenure is typically concise, allowing the visa holder to stay for up to three months with a possibility of extension under specific conditions. Its primary objective is to facilitate immediate and pressing work that cannot be postponed and is not intended to be ongoing. To qualify for this visa, applicants must demonstrate that their expertise is not only specialised but also directly relevant to the work they will undertake in Australia.

Prospective applicants need to be aware of the visa criteria, application process, associated costs, and the obligations they must fulfil once granted the visa. The process includes furnishing evidence of their specialised skills and the non-availability of such skills in the Australian workforce. Understanding these requirements is critical for a successful application and subsequent entry into Australia for short-term specialised work engagements.

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Our immigration lawyers and registered migration agents in Melbourne will be able to find you the best visa for your unique situation. You’ll be in good hands.

Eligibility Requirements

The Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) Visa (Subclass 400) is intended for individuals with specific qualifications suitable for short-term, specialised work in Australia. This visa demands applicants to possess distinctive skills, experiences, and qualifications that are largely unavailable in the Australian workforce. Two critical aspects of the visa eligibility pertain to the nature of the work and the applicant’s health and character.

Specialised Work and Skills

An applicant must demonstrate that they have highly specialised skills, knowledge, or experience that are not generally available in Australia. They should be involved in work or activities that:

  • Relate specifically to the applicant’s niche skill set.
  • Are non-ongoing, typically not exceeding six months.

To apply, one should provide:

  1. Evidence of extraordinary skills or experience.
  2. An invitation or contract from the Australian entity requiring their specialised contribution.

Health and Character Requirements

Applicants must comply with health and character standards set forth by the immigration authorities. Health and character directives include:

  • Undergoing a medical examination, if requested.
  • Furnishing a police clearance certificate to attest to the applicant’s character.

Failure to meet these health and character prerequisites will result in ineligibility for the Subclass 400 visa.

400 Visa Vs 482 Visa – Key Differences

Comparative Summary Table – Subclass 400 Visa or Subclass 482 TSS Visa
Criteria Subclass 400 visa
up to 3 months
Subclass 400 visa
3 to 6 months
Subclass 482 visa
Short Term Stream
Subclass 482 visa
Medium Term Stream
Type of work allowed Highly specialised and non-ongoing Highly specialised and non-ongoing Ongoing skilled work Ongoing skilled work
TSMIT earnings at least $53,900 p.a. Not required Effectively required under policy Legal requirement Legal requirement
Market salary Not required Effectively required under policy Legal requirement unless earnings are $180,000 or over Legal requirement unless earnings are $180,000 or over
Labour Market Testing Not required Effectively required under policy Legal requirement for all occupations unless earnings above $142,000 Legal requirement for all occupations unless earnings above $142,000
Sponsorship obligations Not applicable Not applicable Applicable Applicable
English language testing Not required Not required Required unless exceptions apply Required unless exceptions apply
Strong business case Not required Required Not required Not required
Application charges $280 $280 From $1,150 depending on family size From $2,400
Processing time 5 days to 4 weeks 5 days to 4 weeks 5 to 8 months 5 to 8 months
Location Outside Australia Outside Australia Outside or inside Australia Outside or inside Australia
Health examination Not required May be required depending on risk level Likely to be required depending on risk level Likely to be required depending on risk level
Evidence of funds to support trip Required Required Not required Not required
Licensing and registration Required before work can commence Required before work can commence Required before work can commence Required before work can commence
Health insurance Not required Not required Legal requirement Legal requirement
Further application Subject to scrutiny Subject to rigorous scrutiny Can apply twice onshore, each for 2 years Can apply multiple times and pathway available to Permanent visas
Travel facility Single entry unless business need demonstrated Single entry unless business need demonstrated Multiple entry Multiple entry
Work condition – Main applicant Work in the activity for which the visa was granted Work in the activity for which the visa was granted Work in the position for which the visa was granted Work in the position for which the visa was granted
Work condition – Family No work No work Unlimited work and study Unlimited work and study

Visa Application Process

The application process for the Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) Visa (Subclass 400) involves gathering comprehensive documentation, submitting an application online, and accommodating standard processing times.

Documentation and Evidence

Applicants must provide detailed documentation and evidence to support their visa application. This typically includes:

  • Personal identification: Such as a valid passport.
  • Work-specific documentation: A comprehensive letter of support from the sponsoring business detailing the applicant’s specialised skills and the nature of the work to be undertaken.
  • Evidence of expertise: Proof that the applicant’s skills and experience are not readily available in Australia.

Application Submission

To submit a visa application, the following steps should be followed:

  1. Complete the application form online using the Department of Home Affairs platform.
  2. Attach all required documentation, including the letter of support.
  3. Pay the visa application fee of AUD 315. Note: If representing a foreign government, the fee is waived.

Processing Time

  • The processing time for the subclass 400 visa may vary. However, it is generally advised to apply well before the intended travel date.
  • In case an applicant requires a stay longer than three months, a business case must be provided to justify the extended duration.

Applicants cannot apply for this visa while in Australia and cannot extend their stay beyond the period granted on their visa.

400 visa australia

Visa Duration and Conditions

The Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) Visa (Subclass 400) has specific requirements regarding the duration of stay and conditions that must be adhered to, including those surrounding family members who join the visa holder.

Length of Stay

The Subclass 400 visa permits a short-term stay in Australia for up to six months, dependent on the applicant’s circumstances. Applications usually grant a stay of three months, but an extension to six months may be possible if a compelling business case is provided.

Visa Obligations

Visa holders must comply with all visa conditions and Australian laws throughout their stay. This includes the working restrictions and requirements set by the visa, which are intended for non-ongoing, highly specialised work. Violation of these obligations can result in visa cancellation or other legal consequences.

Family Members

Family members can accompany the primary visa holder but must meet separate eligibility criteria and apply for their own visa. They are also subject to all applicable conditions and must uphold Australian laws during their stay.

It is essential that each family member’s visa application reflects the temporary nature of the primary visa holder’s stay in Australia.

Employment and Activity Sectors

The Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa (subclass 400) is designed for individuals with unique skills and expertise for short-term projects and work in Australia. This visa ensures the transfer of specialised knowledge to the Australian community and economy.

Professional Fields

Professionals looking to undertake short-term work in Australia under the subclass 400 visa operate across various sectors. These include, but are not limited to, information technology, engineering, medical research, and financial services.

  • IT Professionals may be engaged in specific projects like software development or system implementation that require their unique skill set.
  • Engineers might contribute to infrastructure projects that necessitate specialised knowledge in fields such as civil or mining activities.
  • Medical Researchers can be involved in time-sensitive research projects that have implications for public health or the medical community.
  • Financial Experts are often sought after for their insights into complex fiscal arrangements or to assist with financial audits.

Each professional’s contribution is pivotal in bringing a competitive edge to the Australian business landscape while ensuring the activity does not affect the local employment adversely.

Specialised Activity

Specialised activities under the Visa subclass 400 encompass a broad range of professions and skilled work that require highly specialised knowledge or experience.

  1. Short-Term Projects on Land: This might include geological surveys or agricultural consultancies that require a professional with niche expertise to guide project completion.
  2. Maritime Work: Specialists in this category may be required for activities at sea, like marine conservation projects or overseeing the construction and repair of naval vessels.
  3. Arts and Culture: Artists and performers with outstanding abilities could enter Australia to participate in cultural events thereby enriching the local community’s cultural experiences.

These activities typically must not extend beyond six months, with case-based provisions to extend stays under certain circumstances. The professionals involved are necessary to the success of these temporary engagements, bringing a specialised skill that is not readily found in Australia.

Caucasian businessman use computer while walking outdoors in the

Cost and Financial Considerations

When applying for a Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa (Subclass 400) in Australia, applicants must factor in the visa fees and any sponsorship-related costs. A strong business case may be necessary to justify stays beyond three months.

Visa Fees

The Subclass 400 visa comes with a mandatory fee, which the Department of Home Affairs sets. This fee is required to process the application and is non-refundable regardless of the application’s outcome. The fee structure is subject to change, and applicants should check the latest fees on the official immigration website.

  • Base Application Charge: (specific fee in AUD)
  • Additional Applicant Charge (18 and over): (specific fee in AUD)
  • Additional Applicant Charge (under 18): (specific fee in AUD)

Applicants must consider that costs may increase if they are including family members on their application.


If a visa applicant is being sponsored, the sponsoring organisation may bear the costs of the visa application. Sponsorship also implies that the employer is responsible for ensuring the applicant has the means to support themselves during their stay.

The sponsoring business must provide a justification for the need of the specialist, typically through a strong business case that demonstrates why the applicant’s skills are required and how they benefit the Australian business. Furthermore, the business may have to cover:

  • Travel expenses for the visa holder to and from Australia
  • Health insurance for the duration of their stay
  • Any other expenses related to the engagement

Understanding the full extent of financial obligations is crucial for both applicants and sponsors to ensure compliance with Subclass 400 visa conditions.

Additional Visa Information

When considering the Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) Visa (Subclass 400), it’s essential to understand how it compares to other visa options available. This comparison can help potential applicants discern the visa best suited for their specialised short-term work needs in Australia.

Visa 400 vs Other Visas

Visa 400 is distinct from other Australian visas due to its focus on short-term, highly specialised work. Unlike longer-term options or those meant for a broader range of activities, Visa 400 is tailored for skilled professionals who need to enter Australia to complete specific tasks or projects that cannot be filled by the Australian workforce. It aligns closely with individuals who are engaged in non-ongoing, specialised work and need to enter Australia for up to six months, contingent on a solid business case being presented.

  • Temporary Activity Visa (Subclass 408): Unlike Visa 400, the Subclass 408 visa is intended for those who wish to participate in specific types of temporary activities that may include entertainment performances, sporting activities, religious work, or research activities. It is more versatile with its eligibility streams but has a different set of requirements and conditions.
  • Permanent Resident vs Temporary Visas: Both Visa 400 and Subclass 408 do not provide a pathway to becoming a permanent resident. They are strictly temporary and cater to different non-permanent needs in the labour market.

Benefits of Visa 400 include rapid processing and the opportunity for the visa holder’s employer to gain from the expert advice and personalised assistance of an overseas employee or skilled professional. Visa finders and immigration advisors often underscore the importance of choosing the correct visa type based on the individual’s specific work-related intentions and qualifications to ensure compliance and maximise the chance of visa approval.

Speak to our Registered Migration Agents in Melbourne to arrange a consultation.

Learn more about other Australian work visas in the following guides: 482 Visa, 476 Visa, 190 Visa, 186 Visa, 400 Visa

Migrate to Australia

Our immigration lawyers and registered migration agents in Melbourne will be able to find you the best visa for your unique situation. You’ll be in good hands.

iain macleod immagine immigration


Iain MacLeod

Iain has been working as an Immigration Adviser since 1988 and has been running his own practice since 1990. In 1998 he merged his practice with Myer Lipschitz leading to the creation of Protea Pacific Limited which was rebranded in 2008 to IMMagine New Zealand Limited...

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