Exchange visa (subclass 411)

Sunday 5 November 2023

The Exchange visa (subclass 411) is a visa that is no longer open for new applications as of November 24, 2012. This article provides information for individuals who have already been granted this visa, outlining their rights and obligations. It is important to note that Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) can be used to check visa details and entitlements.

Duration of the Visa

The Exchange visa is typically valid for the duration of the nominated position, with a maximum period of two years.

Permitted Activities

The Exchange visa allows individuals to temporarily come to Australia to broaden their work experience and skills. They are permitted to stay in Australia for the duration of their nominated position, with a maximum stay of two years. Additionally, visa holders are allowed to bring their family with them to Australia, and their family members are permitted to work and study. Furthermore, individuals can enter and leave Australia as many times as desired within the validity of the visa.

Obligations of Visa Holders

Visa holders and their families are required to comply with all visa conditions and Australian laws. It is also necessary to maintain adequate health insurance while in Australia.

Working in Australia

While holding the Exchange visa, individuals must not stop working for the employer who sponsored them. They are also prohibited from engaging in work or activities that are inconsistent with their nominated position. Furthermore, visa holders are not permitted to work for another person or for themselves while also working for their sponsor.

Leaving the Sponsor

If a visa holder decides to stop working for their sponsor, they must either be sponsored by another organization to stay in Australia, apply for another visa, or leave the country before their current visa expires.

Changing Sponsors

If a visa holder wants to change their position or employer, they are not required to apply for a new visa unless their current visa is close to expiry. However, in order to start a position with a new organization, they must be nominated by the proposed new sponsor and have that nomination approved. If the visa is close to expiry, the new organization must apply for approval as a long stay activity sponsor and the visa holder must apply for a Temporary Work (Long Stay Activity) visa (subclass 401). If the visa is not close to expiry, the visa holder can work for the new organization for the remaining period on their current visa by being sponsored by the new organization and having them lodge a Form 1378 Nomination for a Temporary Position.

Obligations of Visa Holder's Family

The family of the visa holder cannot enter Australia before the visa holder. When the visa ends, the family members must leave Australia with the visa holder. They are required to maintain adequate health insurance while in Australia, but are permitted to work or study while their visa is valid.

Reporting Changes in Circumstances

Visa holders must report any changes in their circumstances, such as a new residential address, a new passport, or significant life events, through ImmiAccount or by using the appropriate forms. Failure to provide details of a new passport could result in delays at the airport or denial of permission to board a plane.

Sponsorship Information

This section is for approved sponsors of individuals on the Exchange visa. It is not possible to apply to sponsor applicants for this visa as it is no longer open for new applications. The visa finder can be used to search for an appropriate visa, and Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO for Organisations) can be used to check the visa details and entitlements of sponsored individuals.

Duration of Sponsorship

Sponsorship is valid for up to three years, during which time the sponsor can sponsor exchange participants for a Temporary Work (Long Stay Activity) visa (subclass 401). After this period, sponsors must apply to be approved as a long stay activity sponsor in order to continue sponsoring applicants for the Temporary Work (Long Stay Activity) visa (subclass 401). If the person being sponsored is still validly holding an Exchange visa (subclass 411), the sponsor may be able to continue sponsoring them for the remainder of the visa's validity by completing the Form 1378 Nomination for a Temporary Position.

Sponsor Obligations

Sponsors have a number of obligations they must comply with, including cooperating with inspectors, providing records and information to the Minister, and not recovering or transferring certain costs to another person. Sponsors must also ensure that the visa holder participates in the nominated occupation, program, or activity.

Cooperating with Inspectors

Sponsors must cooperate with inspectors appointed under the Migration Act 1958, who may be investigating sponsorship obligations, the employment of illegal workers, or other related circumstances. This obligation begins when the sponsorship is approved or the work agreement commences and ends five years after the sponsorship ends or the work agreement ceases.

Keeping Records

Sponsors must keep records that demonstrate compliance with their sponsorship obligations. These records must be in a reproducible format and some must be capable of verification by an independent person. Records must include notifications made to the Department and the dates and methods of those notifications. This obligation begins when the sponsorship is approved and ends two years after the sponsor is no longer approved and is no longer sponsoring anyone. Records are not required to be kept for more than five years.

Providing Records and Information to the Minister

Sponsors must provide records or information upon request from a departmental officer to determine compliance with sponsorship obligations or other related matters. Records or information that sponsors are required to keep under Commonwealth, state, or territory law must be provided. This obligation begins when the sponsorship is approved or the work agreement commences and ends two years after the sponsorship or work agreement ceases and the sponsor no longer has a sponsored visa holder.

Reporting Certain Events

Sponsors must inform the Department in writing when certain events occur, such as the primary sponsored person ceasing work earlier than the specified date or changes to the sponsor's application for approval, including address and contact details. This obligation begins when the standard business sponsorship is approved or the work agreement commences and ends two years after the sponsorship or work agreement ends and the sponsor is no longer sponsoring anyone.

Sanctions and Administrative Actions

If sponsors do not meet their obligations, they may face sanctions and administrative actions. These can include being barred from sponsoring more people, being barred from applying for approval as a sponsor, or having all existing sponsor approvals cancelled. Sponsors may also be subject to infringement notices or civil penalties. Failure to cooperate with inspectors is considered a breach of sponsorship obligations.


It is important for both visa holders and sponsors to understand their rights and obligations when it comes to the Exchange visa (subclass 411). Compliance with these obligations is crucial to ensure a smooth and successful immigration process.

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