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Visas for Domestic Helpers Accompanying their Employer/s
Domestic helpers accompanying their employers on holiday should apply for the new Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) Visa (Subclass 400).
Australia does not have a specific scheme for employment of domestic helpers. However, it is acknowledged that employment of domestic helpers is culturally prevalent in Malaysian society and that domestic helpers over time can become an integral part of the family unit.
In recognition of this, policy allows for domestic helpers accompanying their employers on holidays to Australia to apply for a visa for their domestic helper to accompany them, in limited circumstances. Visitor visas are no longer appropriate for domestic helpers accompanying their employer/s to Australia (domestic helpers travelling to Australia for a holiday in their own right may apply for a Visitor Visa and be considered, as any other applicant).
From 23 March 2013, the only visa option is the Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) Visa (Subclass 400). This visa is generally for highly-skilled workers undertaking non-ongoing short-term work in Australia where there is a demonstrated need for their services, however policy allows this visa to be used for domestic helpers in limited circumstances.
If a Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) Visa (Subclass 400) is granted to a domestic helper to accompany their employer, the domestic helper is only permitted to provide short-term non-ongoing domestic help for the family with whom they are usually employed, and there must be a demonstrated need for the domestic helper to accompany their employer/s to provide this help. Any other work-related duties are a breach of the visa conditions.
“Employer” in the above context means the employer named on the domestic helper’s work permit, or the employer’s spouse.
In addition to other standard criteria for the Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) Visa (Subclass 400), for a domestic helper in Malaysia to meet the legal and policy criteria:
- the domestic helper must be travelling with the employer (or any of the employer's adult immediate family members who reside in the same household as the employer) for a holiday; and
- the domestic helper’s employment permit must have a validity beyond the proposed date of return to Malaysia (in other words, the domestic helper has authority to re-enter Malaysia after the visit); and
- the duration of the visit must be for four weeks or less**; and
- there must be a demonstrated need for the domestic helper to accompany the employer and their immediate family member/s – a demonstrated need would include situations where the domestic helper is:
- the usual carer for the employer/s children who are aged 5 years or less (i.e. the domestic helper [and their predecessor if any] have provided care for the child/ren since birth); or
- the usual carer for the employer/s immediate family member/s who have special care needs and live in the same household (i.e. the domestic helper [and their predecessor if any] have provided long-term ongoing care for the disabled family member) (medical evidence should be provided);
- if the domestic helper’s employer is not a Malaysian citizen, the employer and family are long-term residents of Malaysia and can provide evidence that they will only be visiting Australia, with ongoing commitments to return to in Malaysia;
Applications for simultaneous multiple domestic helpers, for more than two visits per year, or for circumstances other than those described above will be considered on a case by case basis in exceptional circumstances only.
** While policy in respect of the Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) Visa (Subclass 400) can allow for a stay of up to three months maximum, any stay of more than four weeks requires that the domestic helper be paid the Australian minimum wage (currently above AUD600 per week). In addition, a stay of more than four weeks would only be agreed to in very exceptional circumstances.
Note that household help, cleaning, laundry services and other domestic help is readily available from the Australian labour market. People requiring domestic help for circumstances other than the above, or during an extended stay, are expected to employ someone in Australia.
All of the above considerations must be supported by documentary evidence.
How to apply
Domestic helpers must lodge the visa application in person - there is no need for the employer to be present at time of lodgement. As the visa applicant, the domestic helper must personally sign the visa application form and the declaration.
- Download and complete the correct form
Form 1400 (PDF, 530Kb, 21 pages)
- Make sure you have the right application fee
- Read the information on how and where to lodge your application
- Lodge a complete application at the Australian Visa Application Centre
Other related information
This page was last updated on 24 March 2013