Research and training subclass 402 visa – occupational trainee stream

The Research and Training Subclass 402 Visa has been replaced with the Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408) - effective from 19 November 2016. This web page will be updated shortly. If you have any questions on the new process, please contact the HR Service Centre on (02) 8627 1300.

If you would like to offer structured or workplace based training to a current student in an overseas institution, a recently graduated student, or provide workplace training/research for an international visitor, they are likely to require a Research and Training subclass 402 visa - occupational trainee stream in order to undertake the training offered by the University.

For more information visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.


What types of training can be undertaken by an occupational trainee?

There are three types of training covered by the subclass 402 visa - occupational trainee stream and the documentation required to support the visa application will differ for each type of training. The three types of training are:

  • Training type 1 – Training or practical experience in the workplace required for a person to obtain registration for employment in their occupation in Australia or in their home country. For example, if the training provided by the University was required for medical registration in an overseas location. More
  • Training type 2 - Structured workplace training program to enhance a person’s existing skills in an eligible occupation. For example, an overseas practising dentist wishes to undertake a structured training program in a new technology or procedure More
  • Training type 3 - Structured workplace training to enhance a person’s skills and promote capacity building overseas. For example, a PhD student wishing to undertake research either required for their degree or in a closely related field, or where the training was supported by either their home country or the Australian Government. More

Most University occupational trainees fall within either Training type 2 or Training type 3. Before lodging any applications with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, the Immigration and Relocation Team will assess which training type best fits each occupational trainee.

Read about the application process to determine the information required by the Immigration and Relocation Team to enable a comprehensive assessment of the documentation.

Who can be an occupational trainee?

The "training type" (see previous question) under which the subclass 402 visa - occupational trainee stream will be lodged will determine the eligibility criteria for each individual. In general, occupational trainees must meet one or more of the following requirements:

  • have been employed in their current occupation, studying or engaged in their field of expertise for at least the last 12 months
  • have recently graduated from a foreign educational institution and are either:
    - seeking occupational training in a closely related field, or
    - undertaking research in their field of study
  • be undertaking a course of study at an overseas educational institution, and be able to provide evidence from that overseas institution that the occupational training will be credited towards the grant of an award.

Trainees must also:

  • be at least 18 years of age
  • have sufficient English to undertake the training program and to ensure occupational health and safety standards are met
  • have adequate financial support for self and any accompanying family members
  • have a genuine intention to undertake the occupational training program
  • hold appropriate and adequate health insurance for themselves and all family members included in the application, and
  • be of good health and character.

A foreign national is not eligible for a subclass 402 visa - occupational trainee stream if they are undertaking either of the following:

  • an apprenticeship, or
  • research for a full time post-graduate degree at an Australian institution.

What does the subclass 402 visa - occupational trainee stream allow an occupational trainee to do?
  • to participate in the approved occupational training program, which can include:
  1. structured training program
  2. training in research activities, or
  3. work experience or work activities
  • receive a contribution towards their living expenses or salary payments if working
  • bring any eligible secondary applicants to Australia
  • leave and enter Australia as many times as they wish while the visa is valid, and
  • stay in Australia for as long as the visa is valid.

How much can the University contribute to the occupational trainee’s expenses?

There is no limit to the value of the financial support which can be provided by the University. The occupational trainee is also eligible to receive unlimited funding through overseas salary payments, grants and personal funding.

The University may contribute to the costs of travel, living and/or accommodation expenses, in the form of reimbursement on presentation of receipts by the faculty/unit. These reimbursements may attract Fringe Benefits Tax in Australia, which must be met by the University.

If the occupational trainee is employed and receiving salary payments, these payments will constitute taxable income for the individual in Australia. The occupational trainee will need to apply for a Tax File Number and should seek tax advice and assistance to lodge tax returns for the period they are working in Australia.

Any allowance or salary payments may be taxable in the occupational trainee’s home country and they are recommended to seek advice on the likely tax implications of any payments made to them in relation to their affiliation with the University.

What are the requirements for the nomination of family members and other dependants?

The University may extend sponsorship to any spouse or interdependent partner, dependent children of the main visa applicant or dependent children of the main visa applicant’s spouse or interdependent partner. Sponsorship will enable family members to work (up to a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight) and attend school whilst they are located in Australia.

Where sponsorship is undertaken for secondary applicants, the University has certain obligations. We strongly recommend that you discuss extending sponsorship to family members with the occupational trainee early in the negotiation stage to ensure that both the University and the visitor are clear on whether family members will be sponsored or not. This information will need to be included on the International Visitor Request Form.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection will require the occupational trainee to provide satisfactory evidence of long term relationships and/or financial support for all accompanying family members at the visa application stage.

What is the subclass 402 visa - occupational trainee stream holder not allowed to do?

The trainee is not allowed to:

  • enrol in a unit of study with an Australian educational institution which has not been approved as part of the occupational trainee program, or
  • undertake work for the University or another organisation (unless specifically authorised by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection).

How long can the visa be granted for?

The subclass 402 visa - occupational trainee stream may be valid for up to two years to undertake an approved training program (subject to the length of the approved training program). An additional two months may be added beyond the training end date to allow the occupational trainee and their family members to make arrangements to leave Australia or to apply for another visa.

If the training cannot be completed in the approved visa period, a second subclass 402 visa - occupational trainee stream may be applied for. Both the University and the occupational trainee must again meet the eligibility requirements and submit to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection a submission seeking "exceptional circumstances" approval for the extension period, with the Employer Nomination.

How long does it take to get the subclass 402 visa - occupational trainee stream?

Processing for the subclass 402 visa - occupational trainee stream occurs in Australia for both the Employer Nomination and the visa application. Look up the current visa processing times on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.

You should allow an additional month for the processing of the Employer Nomination application, which is usually prepared and lodged prior to the visa application.

Both the Employer Nomination and the visa application may be lodged together, however, if the Employer Nomination is not approved, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection will not review the visa application.

How far in advance should I complete the documentation for an occupational trainee?

To enable sufficient time for the full process to be completed, we strongly recommend that commencement dates are set no earlier than four months after the date of the Dean’s sign off. This will offer a good chance that the visa will be issued in time for the proposed commencement and allow the occupational trainee some time to make flight arrangements and prepare for their travel to Australia.

What are the University's obligations during the occupational training period?

The subclass 402 visa - occupational trainee stream is a sponsored visa, which means the University must first seek approval from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to sponsor the occupational trainee.

As a sponsor, the University is required to meet certain obligations. View a full list of the University’s obligations on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.

Sourcing of accommodation
The University is required to source appropriate accommodation for the occupational trainee for the duration of their stay in Australia. The University is not legally required to meet the cost of this accommodation. The occupational trainee may accept the offer, however they are not legally required to accept any offer of accommodation and may make their own arrangements.

The faculty/unit is responsible for sourcing accommodation for occupational trainees they invite to the University.

Notification of certain events
To assist the Immigration and Relocation Team to monitor occupational trainees and facilitate compliance with the University’s obligations, we require you to notify the team if any of the following situations occur:

  • an occupational trainee fails to commence their training on the date approved on the International Visitor Form
  • an occupational trainee fails to participate in the activities as noted in the International Visitor Form and Occupational Trainee Programme
  • activities that they do participate in change during the period of the traineeship
  • you wish to employ an occupational trainee or provide them with additional financial assistance
  • an occupational trainee ceases the activity for which they were nominated, prior to the cessation date, or
  • an occupational trainee completes their activities earlier than the date noted on the International Visitor Form.

What are the penalties if the University's obligations are not met?

If the Department of Immigration and Border Protection believes that the University is not complying with its obligations, the University will be issued with a breach notice. The consequences of a breach notice may include any of the following sanctions:

  • up to two years’ imprisonment or a fine of up to $66,000 per breach
  • suspension of the University from nominating any employees under the subclass 402 visa - occupational trainee stream for a specified period of time
  • delays in issuing visas to other visa applicants during the suspension period
  • cancellation of the business sponsorship agreement, and/or
  • cancellation of the visas of any sponsored employee or visitor and their accompanying family members.

What are the conditions applicable to subclass 402 visa - occupational trainee stream holders?

The visa grant notice issued to the subclass 402 visa - occupational trainee stream holder will outline the visa conditions applicable to the individual. Listed below is some information to help prepare the visa applicant:

8102 - The visa holder must not engage in work in Australia (other than in relation to the individual's course of study or training). If an occupational trainee is unpaid (and a University affiliate), reasonable accommodation must be secured and offered to the trainee at the time of nomination. However, they are not obliged to accept the offer.

It is not mandatory to employ occupational trainees. However, if the visa holder is employed, they must not engage in work for more than 40 hours a fortnight while in Australia.

8501 - The visa holder is responsible for obtaining and maintaining adequate health insurance for themselves and any dependants for the duration of their stay in Australia. The University will require the visa holder to provide evidence that adequate health insurance cover has been obtained prior to commencement of training. Travel insurance does not provide adequate health cover for the duration of the stay in Australia.

Any one or more of these conditions may be imposed:

8106 - The visa holder must engage in work in Australia only if the work is relevant to the conduct of the business, or performance of the tasks, specified in the visa application.

8107 - The visa holder must not engage in an activity inconsistent with the activity in relation to which the visa was granted.

8301 - After entry to Australia, the visa holder must satisfy relevant public interest criteria before the visa ceases.

8303 - The visa holder must not become involved in activities disruptive to, or violence threatening harm to, the Australian community or a group within the Australian community.

8503 - The visa holder will not, after entering Australia, be entitled to be granted a substantive visa, other than a protection visa, while the holder remains in Australia.

8516 - The visa holder must continue to be a person who would satisfy the primary or secondary criteria, as the case requires, for the grant of the visa.

8522 - The visa holder must leave Australia not later than the time of departure of the person:
(a) who has satisfied the primary criteria; and
(b) of whose family unit the holder is a member.

8525 - The visa holder must leave Australia by a specified means of transport on a specified day or within a specified period.

8526 - The visa holder must notify the Department of Immigration and Border Protection in writing, not earlier than 7 days before the date the visa ceases to be in effect, and not later than that date, of the holder's place of residence in Australia by posting the notification to the Central Office of Immigration in the Australian Capital Territory.

More information on health insurance requirements.