Special Program visa (subclass 416)

Sunday 5 November 2023

The Special Program visa (subclass 416) is a visa that is no longer open for new applications as of November 19, 2016. However, if you are looking to apply for a similar visa, you may be eligible for the Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403) or the Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408).

Visa Holders

If you have already been granted a Special Program visa (subclass 416), it is important to understand your rights and obligations. You can easily check your visa details and entitlements using the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) service, which is available for free.

Duration of the Visa

A Special Program visa (subclass 416) is valid for the duration specified in the special program agreement between your sponsoring organization and the Department of Home Affairs. Typically, this period ranges from 3 to 12 months and includes any arrival and departure arrangements.

Permitted Activities

This visa allows you to take part in an approved special program, as well as work or study in Australia if it is part of the approved program. Additionally, you have the option to bring eligible family members with you.


As a visa holder, it is essential that you and your family comply with all visa conditions and Australian laws. You must only engage in the activities that you listed in your visa application. If you wish to participate in different activities or undertake activities for a different organization, you will need to lodge a new visa application.

It is also important to maintain adequate health insurance arrangements throughout your stay in Australia.

Reporting Changes in Circumstances

If there are any changes in your circumstances, such as a new residential address, a new passport, or a pregnancy, birth, or death in your family, it is crucial to notify the Department of Home Affairs. You can do this by using the appropriate forms, such as Form 929 for change of address and/or passport details, and Form 1022 for other changes in circumstances.


If you are an approved sponsor for individuals on a Special Program visa (subclass 416), there are certain obligations you must fulfill.

Duration of Sponsorship

Sponsors can be approved for sponsorship for up to three years.

Sponsor Obligations

As a sponsor, it is your responsibility to comply with the following sponsorship obligations:

  • Cooperate with inspectors appointed under the Migration Act 1958
  • Inform the Department of Home Affairs about certain events
  • Keep records that demonstrate compliance with sponsorship obligations
  • Provide records and information to the Minister when requested
  • Not recover, transfer, or charge certain costs to another person
  • Pay costs to locate and remove an unlawful non-citizen
  • Secure an offer of a reasonable standard of accommodation
  • Pay travel costs to enable sponsored persons to leave Australia

It is important to note that you are responsible for meeting these obligations, even if you have someone else acting on your behalf. Failure to comply with these obligations can result in sanctions and penalties.

Cooperating with Inspectors

As a sponsor, you must cooperate with inspectors appointed under the Migration Act 1958. This includes providing access to premises, producing requested documents, and allowing officers to interview individuals on your premises.

Notification of Events

You must notify the Department of Home Affairs in writing when certain events occur. These events include when the sponsored person is unable to meet program requirements, unable to participate in the program, ceases to participate in the program, or fails to attend a program.

Notifications must be sent by registered post or electronic mail to the specified address within the designated timeframes.

Keeping Records

As a sponsor, it is important to keep records that demonstrate your compliance with sponsorship obligations. These records must be kept in a reproducible format and some must be capable of verification by an independent person.

Records that must be kept include written requests for payment of outward travel costs and details of how these costs were paid.

Providing Records and Information

If requested by a departmental officer, you must provide records or information that go towards determining compliance with sponsorship obligations. This includes records required by Commonwealth, state, or territory laws and records you have an obligation to keep as a sponsor.

Prohibition on Recovering Costs

You are not allowed to recover or transfer certain costs, including migration agent costs, to another person. This includes costs related to recruitment or becoming a sponsor. This obligation applies from the day the sponsorship is approved or the work agreement commences and ends when you cease to be a sponsor or no longer have a sponsored visa holder.

Payment of Costs for Unlawful Non-Citizens

If a sponsored person becomes an unlawful non-citizen, you may be required to pay the costs incurred by the Commonwealth in locating and removing that person from Australia. This obligation starts on the day the person becomes an unlawful non-citizen and ends five years after their departure from Australia.

Accommodation Obligations

If you sponsor someone for a volunteer position or a professional development program, you must secure an offer of a reasonable standard of accommodation for them and their family. This accommodation must meet relevant regulations and provide necessary amenities. If the accommodation becomes unavailable, you must find alternative accommodation.

Payment of Travel Costs

As a sponsor, you must pay reasonable and necessary travel costs to enable sponsored applicants and their family members to leave Australia. These costs should cover travel from their place of residence to their departure destination, as well as the actual travel to their home country. Economy class air travel or a reasonable equivalent is typically considered reasonable and necessary.

Monitoring of Sponsors and Visa Holders

The Department of Home Affairs monitors sponsor compliance with obligations as well as the visa holders' adherence to their visa conditions. This monitoring may occur during the sponsorship period and up to five years after the sponsorship ceases. Inspectors appointed under the Migration Act 1958 may investigate compliance with sponsorship obligations.

Sanctions for Non-Compliance

If you fail to meet your sponsorship obligations, the Department of Home Affairs can take various actions, including barring you from sponsoring more people, canceling your existing approvals as a sponsor, and issuing infringement notices or civil penalty orders.

It is important to understand and fulfill your obligations as a visa holder or sponsor to ensure compliance with Australian immigration laws and regulations.

Quick Contact

Interested in visiting,studying,working or living in Australia?

Enter your details and we'll call you back. When it suits you.

- Please enter information in English
If your age is below 18 years, it is imperative that this form be completed by your parents.
+ Attach Your Resume (optional)