COVID-19 – Temporary Visa Holders Update
The Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs The Hon Alan Tudge MP has this morning made a press release providing an update for the 2.17 million temporary visa holders in Australia.
Visitor/Tourist Visa Holders in Australia
- Visitor/Tourist visa holders in Australia should make arrangements to depart Australia as soon as possible. Extensions are possible for those who are unable to depart Australia due to the COVID-19 crisis
International Students in Australia
- Students have been asked to rely on family support, part-time work where available and their own savings to sustain themselves in Australia
- Student visa holders in Australia and have been here for more than 12 months and in financial hardship are now able to access their Australian superannuation (if they have it)
- The Government will undertake further engagement with education providers who already provide some means of financial support for international students facing hardship.
- Flexible arrangements are now in place where COVID-19 has prevented international students from meeting their visa condition’s (such as not being able to attend classes)
- All international students are able to work up to 20 hours per week however international students working in aged care and as nurses are able to work unlimited hours to support these critical sectors
- International students working in the major supermarkets who currently have unlimited hours to assist in getting stock on shelves will have their hours reduced back to 20 hours per week as of 1 May 2020
New Zealanders on Special Category (subclass 444) Visas
- NZ Citizens who are on SC444 visas and who arrived in Australia prior to the 26 February 2001 will have access to welfare payments and the JobKeeper payment
- NZ Citizens on SC444 visas who arrived after 2001 will have access to the JobKeeper payment but will not have access to JobSeeker or any other welfare payments
- The Department’s advise is for New Zealanders to consider returning to NZ if they are unable to support themselves through these provisions, work or family support.
Temporary Skilled Visa Holders (457 Visa, TSS Visa SC482, Training Visa, Graduate Visa (SC485) and other Skilled Working Visas
- Temporary skilled visa holders who have been stood down, but not laid off, will maintain their visa validity and businesses will have the opportunity to extend their visa as per normal arrangements.
- Employer sponsors are able to reduce the hours of the visa holder without the person being in breach of their visa conditions
- Visa holders will be able to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in this financial year
- Visa holders who have been laid off (made redundant) due to the corona virus should leave Australia in line with existing visa conditions if they are unable to secure a new sponsor
- 457/TSS Visa Holders in the MLTSSL stream (4 year visas) will be able to count the time already spent in Australia if they are reemployed at a later date and wish to transition to permanent residency
Working Holiday Makers (SC417 & SC462) Visa Holders
- Working Holiday Makers who are working in the Health, Aged and Disability Care, Agriculture and Food Processing and Childcare will be exempt from the six month work limitation with the one employer and will be eligible for a further Working Holiday visa if their current visa is due to expire in the next 6 months.
- The Government has advised that any Working Holiday Visa Holders in Australia who do not have the confidence to be able to support themselves in Australia over the next 6 months should make arrangements to depart Australia
The above information was provided this morning by a Press Conference. The full press conference can be found here.
Ethos Migration Lawyers will continue to provide updates as soon as they become available.