Temporary Visitor Visa: Business Visitor stream – subclasses 600, 601 and 651
Visitors may fall into the category of "affiliates" in the following situations:
- where an overseas academic wishes to spend a short period of time in Australia and during that period, attends a conference or engages in research discussions with University of Sydney staff; or
- where you would like to invite a visitor to the University for collaborative purposes and they are not employed by the University.
The University has implemented an Affiliates policy which outlines the requirements for a visitor to be considered an affiliate of the University. More information can also be found in the Honorary Titles procedures.
Unless the affiliate meets stringent eligibility criteria, they will be required to obtain a Research and Training subclass 402 visa – Research stream (if they are a visiting academic) or a Research and Training subclass 402 visa – Occupational Trainee stream (if they are an occupational trainee).
However, if visitors to the University, or affiliates, will be engaging in non-work activities for less than six weeks, they may be eligible to travel to Australia using a Visitor Visa subclass 600 – business visitor stream. There are three visa options, outlined in the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website:
- Visitor Visa – Business Visitor stream subclass 600
- Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) – Business Visitor stream subclass 601
- eVisitor subclass 651.
The citizenship of the affiliate will determine which visa subclass they are eligible to apply for and how they apply.
- What does the Visitor Visa – Business Visitor stream allow an affiliate to do?
- What are the limitations on the activities performed by a Visitor Visa – Business Visitor stream holder?
- How much can the University contribute to the affiliate's living expenses?
- What is the holder of a Visitor Visa – Business Visitor stream not allowed to do?
- How long can the visa be granted for?
- How long does it take to get Visitor Visa – Business Visitor stream?
- How far in advance should documentation for an affiliation be completed?
- What are the University's obligations during the affiliation period?
- What are the penalties if the University allows non-compliant activities to be performed by the affiliate?
- What are the conditions applicable to the holder of a Visitor Visa – Business Visitor stream?
Holders of a Visitor Visa – Business Visitor stream are eligible to study in Australia for up to three months during the validity of their visa.
Visitor Visa – Business Visitor stream holders who are not studying in Australia are eligible to engage in business activities while in Australia including:
- making general business or employment enquiries (eg attending interviews and preliminary meetings);
- attending meetings or conferences as long as the University does not pay the visitor to attend (support for flights and/or accommodation is acceptable); or
- representing an overseas entity in negotiations and investigations of business opportunities.
Visitors travelling to Australia on these visas are not permitted to:
- work for or provide services to a business or organisation in Australia; or
- sell goods or services to the public.
What are the limitations on the activities performed by a Visitor Visa – Business Visitor stream holder?
With the exception of informal studies and training, it is important to note that the affiliate may participate in the above activities for a maximum period of six weeks only.
If an affiliate is invited to attend the University for a period in excess of six weeks, the University should ensure that they apply for the Training and Research subclass 402 visa under the relevant stream ( Visiting Academics or Occupational Trainee).
There are no limitations on the level of financial support which can be provided by the University for living expenses. Where possible, receipts or direct payment of expenses is encouraged.
No salary payment or payment for services provided is allowed.
A Visitor Visa – Business Visitor stream holder must not engage in work in Australia, either paid or unpaid. Strict limitations on the type of activities that can be performed are in place and have been outlined above.
This reflects the mandatory visa condition 8115 which is placed on all Visitor Visa – Business Visitor streams.
In the context of condition 8115, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection defines "work" as any activity that would normally attract remuneration in Australia. Work is work even if the person is not:
- “employed” in Australia, and/or
- not paid for the activity.
The University recommends that where the individual is to be employed, that the person is sponsored for a subclass 457 visa. However, where the individual is:
- performing activities of a very specific nature,
- those activities are not on-going and
- align with the limited circumstances where work may be allowed,
a Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) subclass 400 visa may be appropriate.
Please note that temporary employment whilst a staff member is on leave would not meet the strict eligibility criteria for a subclass 400 visa. In this instance a subclass 457 visa would be the appropriate visa to obtain.
If you wish to discuss whether your proposed visitor may comply with the acceptable “work” definition, please contact the University's Immigration and Relocation Team prior to making any formal undertakings to the individual.
Visitor Visa – Business Visitor streams are generally granted for a period of 12 months, however, the visa holder is permitted to stay in Australia for a maximum of three months on each separate visit, within the visa validity period.
These visa subclasses generally enable affiliates to come to Australia for multiple visits, within the visa validity period.
Subclass 600 visa applications
A visa application for the subclass 600 visa may be lodged either online or by post or courier whilst outside of Australia.
Subclass 601 visa applications
A Subclass 601 visa is an Electronic Travel Authority which is only available to citizens of certain countries. Subclass 601 visa applications can be applied for:
- online; or
- with a travel agent, airline or specialist service provider; or
- in paper format at the nearest immigration office outside of Australia.
Subclass 651 visa applications
A Subclass 651 eVisitor is an Electronic Travel Authority which is only available to citizens of certain countries. Subclass 651 visa applications can be applied for online.
To enable sufficient time for the visa process to be completed we strongly recommend that commencement dates are set no earlier than one month 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 affiliate some time to make flight arrangements and prepare for their travel.
As the Visitor Visa – Business Visitor streams are not sponsored visa subclasses the University does not have any obligations to meet.
However, if the University allows an affiliate to perform activities which are not permitted within the Visitor Visa – Business Visitor stream framework, the University may be subject to penalties in accordance with the applicable legislation.
What are the penalties if the University allows non-compliant activities to be performed by the affiliate?
It is a criminal offence for an employer to knowingly or recklessly allow a temporary visa holder to work in breach of a work condition on their visa. 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 overseas visitors or employees for a specified period of time
- cancellation of the business sponsorship agreement; and/or
- cancellation of the visas of any staff member and their accompanying family members.
Affiliates holding a Visitor Visa – Business Visitor stream must comply with all conditions and obligations placed on their visa.
The visa grant notice will outline all of the conditions applicable to the individual.
Visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website for information on the conditions applicable to the different subclasses:
- Visitor Visa – Business Visitor Stream subclass 600
- Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) – Business Visitor Stream subclass 601
- eVisitor subclass 651.