Arrangements for Temporary visa holders in Australia
The Australian Immigration Department announced further arrangements for temporary visa holders at a Press conference held in Melbourne on 4th April 2020. The arrangements will be in operation during the corona crisis.
The Department is guided by the following principles:
– Australians and permanent residents are primary focus in terms of jobs and welfare payments.
– the expectation that the Temporary Visa holders are able to support themselves is unchanged.
– those working in critical industries such as health and education can expect some visa flexibility.
Specific measures have been applied to the particular temporary visa holders as described below:
VISITOR VISA HOLDERS – International tourists currently in Australia, should return to their home country as quickly as possible. Particularly for those who don’t have family support in Australia.
INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS – there are about 600,000 international students in Australia and they are encouraged to rely on their family support, on part time work where that is available, and on their own savings to support themselves whilst in Australia. Students will have access to the superannuation they have accumulated through the part time work.
NEW ZEALANDERS – New Zealand passport holders are allowed to live and work in Australian on the 444 Visa. As this is a temporary visa, holders of the 444 visa are not able to access majority of social security payments such as JobSeeker allowance, however New Zealanders in Australia will have access to the JobKeeper payments. Those unable to claim payments and support themselves are advised to return to New Zealand.
EMPLOYER SPONSORED TEMPORARY VISA HOLDERS – those on the 457 or 482 Visas will not have their visas cancelled if they have been stood down or had their hours reduced by their employer ( business sponsor). Their visas will remain valid. They will also have access to up to $10,000 of their superannuation they have accumulated whilst working in Australia.
Those who have been laid off, the usual arrangements apply, that is to find a new employer (new sponsor) within 60 days or to depart the country.
WORKING HOLIDAY VISA MAKERS – the Government arrangements will only be applicable to those working in the critical sectors of health, aged care, disability care, agriculture and food processing and child care. The Visa holders working in those sectors will be allowed to remain with one employer for more than 6 months (the usual limitation on the 417 Visa is employment for no more than 6 months with any one employer). In addition, those whose visas expire after one year and who have been working in the above-listed critical industries, will have the opportunity to extend their visas for another year.
All Visa holders are advised to follow the social distancing rules or risk breaching their visa conditions by not complying with the local State laws.
All of these arrangements will be under constant review whilst the coronavirus crisis situation is being re-assessed.