Assistance for Temporary Visa Holders in Australia

After much deliberation with the Australian government, the Red Cross has announced their plan to support temporary visa holders in Australia who find themselves vulnerable in the aftermath of COVID-19.

The Red Cross has secured vital funding from the government for the coming 6 months in order to provide relief and support to those who do not qualify for current stimulus packages due to holding temporary visas.

Relief will be available in the form of food, medicine and accommodation for those who:

  • Have no income;
  • Have no financial support;
  • Are not eligible to access Centrelink, Medicare or other similar benefits;
  • Are residing within Australia and hold a temporary visa; and
  • Are in urgent financial hardship.

Those who fall into that category and are eligible are encouraged to contact the Red Cross by email or to seek further information from their website.

Visas which have an 8504 condition (must enter Australia by a certain date) attached to them

Due to COVID-19, many visa holders who are offshore and are subject to an 8504 condition are unable to currently enter Australia before the specified date due to travel restrictions. The Department of Home Affairs have provided the following information for those who are stuck in this situation:

Skilled visa holders

Holders of these visas are encouraged to try and enter Australia before the specified date if at all possible. If the visa holder is unable to enter Australia, and the only reason stopping them from this is COVID-19 travel restrictions then the Department will not seek to cancel this visa. This information applies to subclasses 189, 190, 489 and 491 visas.

Business visa holders

If you hold a distinguished Talent visa or Business Skills visa, it is requested that you contact the Department for further information.

If you hold either of these visas and are unable to enter Australia before the date specified in condition 8504, Ethos Migration Lawyers can make contact with the Department on your behalf to assess the situation going forward.

Business Innovation and Investment Programs (subclass 132 & subclass 188 visa closures

South Australia, Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales have all reached their limit for this year’s Business Innovation and Investment programs. Applications will open again as of 1 July 2020.

Victoria’s 132 and 188 visa nomination program has temporarily been placed on pause. This does not include subclass 188A and 188C extensions.

Tasmania, Western Australia and Northern Territory nomination programs are still open and accepting applications.

Applications received prior to these closures or pauses will still be processed as normal.

Section 48 barred applicants who are onshore

The Australian government has given advice to the State and Territory governments to suspend nominating all section 48 barred applicants until the COVID-19 travel restrictions have been resolved.

The following information has been released by each state and territory:

New South Wales

  • New South Wales will re-nominate those applicants who have a s48 bar once the travel restrictions have been lifted and they will be able to travel again


  • Queensland has requested those who have applied for 491 visas and hold a section 48 bar to withdraw those requests
  • The 491 visa cannot be approved onshore and applications can be lodged again once restrictions for travel have lifted


  • Applications are currently on hold
  • Those who applied before 2 April 2020 will be processed as normal and unsuccessful applicants should not reapply until travel restriction have been lifted

There have been no individual updates from Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Northern Territory or the Australian Capital Territory.

Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) – Fast Track Decisions

The Migration Institute of Australia has received information on the increasing amount of fast track decision applications.

The Department has reconfirmed the following for people wishing to apply for a fast track decision:

A fast track decision is one where the Department of Home Affairs refused the application because of a discrete criterion that does not require a subjective assessment, and evidence has now been given to the Tribunal that unequivocally satisfies the objective criterion in dispute”

At Ethos Migration Lawyers we understand that the situation unfolding in Australia and around the world can be stressful, upsetting and alarming for some.

If yourself, someone you know or your business needs help and support during this tough time, please do not hesitate to get in contact with Ethos Migration Lawyers. We are doing our best to help anyone who needs it.

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