With effect from late-March 2013, a new visa category has been introduced – the Temporary work  (Short Stay Activity) visa subclass 400.  The Department of Immigration & Citizenship hopes that this short-term work visa option will reduce the prevalence of unauthorized work activities being performed by business visa holders.  It replaces the work entitlements of various short-term visa categories, including the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), and Business (Short Stay) visa subclass 456.

The sub-class 400 visa allows the holder to enter Australia to do “short-term, non-ongoing, highly specialised work”.  It also allows the holder to participate in an event at the invitation of an Australian organisation.  Non-ongoing work means that the work can be completed in 6 weeks and in certain cases up to 3 months.

Work activities that will be ongoing beyond these timeframes, or work that is not of the nature permitted for this visa category, will require traditional Subclass 457 work visa.

The practical significance and operation of this is yet to emerge, however it is clear employers should not attempt to get around delays in obtaining 457 visas through the use of the ETA as the Department of Immigration can be expected to be vigilant in checking the credentials of incoming passengers at Australian airports.