Religious Worker visa (subclass 428)

Sunday 5 November 2023

Religious Worker Visa (Subclass 428)

The Religious Worker visa (subclass 428) is no longer open for new applications. If you are looking for an appropriate visa, you can use the visa finder tool to search for other options.

Visa Holders

If you have already been granted a Religious Worker visa (subclass 428), it is important to understand your rights and obligations. You can easily check your visa details and entitlements for free using Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO).

Duration of Your Visa

Typically, your visa will be valid for the duration of the nominated position, with a maximum period of two years.

What You Can Do with This Visa

The Religious Worker visa (subclass 428) allows you to:

  • Work full-time as a religious worker for your sponsoring religious institution
  • Stay in Australia for the duration of the nominated position, with a maximum stay of two years
  • Bring your family with you to Australia, where they can work and study
  • Leave and enter Australia as many times as you want while your visa is valid

Your Obligations

As a visa holder and your family, it is crucial to fulfill the following obligations:

  • Comply with all visa conditions and Australian laws
  • Maintain adequate health insurance arrangements while in Australia
  • Avoid engaging in activities that may disrupt or threaten harm to the Australian community or any group within it

Working in Australia

There are certain restrictions when it comes to working in Australia with a Religious Worker visa (subclass 428). You must:

  • Continue working for the employer who sponsored you for this visa
  • Only engage in work that aligns with your nominated position
  • Avoid working for another person or for yourself while also working for your sponsor

If You Stop Working for Your Sponsor

If you decide to stop working for your sponsor, you have a few options. You can either:

  • Be sponsored by another organization to stay in Australia
  • Apply for another visa
  • Leave Australia before your visa expires

Changing Your Sponsor

If you wish to change your position or employer, you generally do not need to apply for a new visa unless your current visa is close to expiry. However, before starting a new position with a different organization, you must be nominated by your proposed new sponsor and have that nomination approved. If your visa is close to expiry, you will need to use the visa finder tool to search for an appropriate visa.

Obligations for Your Family

If you are bringing your family with you to Australia, they must adhere to certain obligations. They cannot enter Australia before you, and when your visa ends, they must leave Australia with you. Additionally, they must:

  • Intend to remain a member of your family unit
  • Maintain adequate health insurance while in Australia
  • Have the ability to work or study while their visa is valid

Reporting Changes in Circumstances

It is important to inform the appropriate authorities if there are any changes in your circumstances. This includes changes in residential address, passport details, or significant life events such as pregnancy, birth, divorce, separation, marriage, de facto relationship, or death in your family. You can report these changes via ImmiAccount or by using the provided forms if you are unable to access ImmiAccount.

Failure to provide details of a new passport could result in significant delays at the airport and potential denial of permission to board your plane.


If you are an approved sponsor for people on a Religious Worker visa (subclass 428), please note that you cannot apply to sponsor new applicants for this visa category. However, you can use Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO for Organizations) to check the visa details and entitlements of the people you have sponsored.

Duration of Sponsorship

Your sponsorship is valid for up to three years, during which you can sponsor religious workers for a Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408). If you wish to sponsor religious workers after your sponsorship ceases, you will need to apply to be approved as a long-stay activity sponsor, allowing you to sponsor applicants for the Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408).

If the person you intend to sponsor is currently holding a valid Religious Worker visa (subclass 428), you may be able to sponsor them for the remainder of its validity.


Each occupation, program, or activity that you nominate will have its approval cease on the earliest of the following:

  • The day on which we receive written notification of your withdrawal of the nomination
  • 12 months after the day on which the nomination is approved
  • 3 months after the day on which your approval as a sponsor ceases (if the nomination approval is given to you)
  • The day on which your approval as a sponsor is canceled (if the nomination approval is given to you)
  • The day on which the visa was granted based on the nomination

Sponsor Obligations

As a sponsor, you have several obligations to fulfill, including:

  • Cooperating with inspectors appointed under the Migration Act 1958 in investigations related to sponsorship obligations and compliance
  • Providing necessary records and information to the Minister when requested
  • Not recovering, transferring, or charging certain costs to another person
  • Paying costs to locate and remove an unlawful non-citizen
  • Ensuring the visa holder works in the nominated occupation, program, or activity
  • Securing an offer of reasonable standard accommodation for volunteers or participants in professional development programs
  • Paying travel costs to enable sponsored people to leave Australia

It is important to note that even if you have authorized someone else to act on your behalf, including a migration agent, you are still responsible for meeting all your obligations.

Cooperating with Inspectors

Cooperating with inspectors appointed under the Migration Act 1958 is a crucial part of meeting your sponsorship obligations. This cooperation may involve providing access to premises, producing and providing documents within the requested timeframe, and allowing officers to interview relevant individuals on your premises.

Keeping Records

It is essential 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. In addition to records required under other Australian Government and state or territory laws, the following records must be kept:

  • Written requests for payment of outward travel costs for sponsored visa holders or their families
  • Details of how outward travel costs were paid, including amount, recipients, and dates of payment

Providing Records and Information to the Minister

If requested by a departmental officer, you must provide records or information related to your sponsorship obligations and other matters relating to your sponsorship of visa holders. This obligation starts on the day the sponsorship is approved or work agreement commences and ends two years after your sponsorship or work agreement ceases.

Notification of Certain Events

You must notify us in writing when certain events occur, such as when the primary sponsored person ceases or fails to participate in the nominated activity, or when there are changes to your address and contact details. This obligation starts on the day the standard business sponsorship is approved or the work agreement commences and ends two years after your sponsorship or work agreement ends.

Sanctions for Not Meeting Sponsor Obligations

If you fail to meet your sponsorship obligations, the Department of Home Affairs may take various actions, including administrative penalties, enforceable undertakings, or civil penalties. Additionally, certain circumstances, such as providing false or misleading information or contravening laws, may lead to sanctions or termination of your sponsorship.

Monitoring of Sponsors and Visa Holders

The Department of Home Affairs routinely monitors compliance with sponsorship obligations and visa conditions. This monitoring may involve exchanging information with other government agencies, requesting information from sponsors, and conducting site visits. Failure to cooperate with inspectors or meet obligations may result in further investigation or penalties.

It is important to understand and fulfill your obligations as a visa holder or sponsor to ensure a smooth and compliant experience in Australia.

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