Update on Australian Temporary Visa Holders Announcement COVID-19

By 4 April 2020August 18th, 2020No Comments

Following yesterday’s announcement by our PM to tourists that ‘it’s time to go home’, the acting Minister for Immigration, the Hon Allan Tudge made an announcement this morning relating to other temporary visa holders in Australia.

With 2.17 million in Australian on temporary visas, the government’s stated priority is to protect the health and livelihoods of Australians, support critical industries, and assist with the rapid recovery post the virus.

We are yet to receive information on the specifics of these announcements and how these will be applied on a practical basis.

We will continue to monitor these announcements closely and will update you when we get more information.

The following is a summary of what we know at this time.

TSS/457 visa holders

  • Cannot access JobSeeker or JobKeeper allowances.
  • Will be able to withdraw $10,000 from superannuation for this financial year.
  • Will be able to keep their current visas and apply to renew their visa if they have been temporarily stood down but not laid off, but it is still unclear how the Department will assess the need for the position or Labour Market Testing.
  • Will need to find another sponsor or depart the country if they have been laid off/made redundant.
  • Will be able to work less hours without being in breach of their visa condition.
  • Will be able to count time already spent working in Australia prior to Covid-19 pandemic towards permanent residency requirements if they hold a 4 year visa.
  • No announcement made on relaxation of employment limitations for those that have been stood down.

Working Holiday Makers and Seasonal Pacific Islander workers

  • Will not receive government assistance and will be expected to depart Australia if they do not have the confidence to sustain themselves over the next six months.
  • Will be able to work for more than six months for one employer if they work in critical sectors – heath, aged and disability care, agriculture and food processing.
  • Will be eligible for a further visa to keep working in these critical sectors if their current visa is due to expire in the next six months.

International students

  • Will be able to access their Australian superannuation if they have been in Australia longer than 12 months and are in financial hardship.
  • Will be taken to have met their visa conditions even if they could not attend class because of Covid-19.
  • Are able to work for more than 40 hours per fortnight if they are working in aged care or as nurses.
  • Will continue to be able to work for more than 40 hours per fortnight if they are working in major supermarkets up until 1 May 2020 after which their hours must not exceed 40 hours per fortnight as more Australians will take these roles.
  • Maybe eligible for discounted tuition – contact your college/institution.

Other temporary visa holders in Australia

There are 185,000 other temporary visa holders in Australia, about half of them temporary graduate visa holders.

  • Will be able to access their Australian superannuation if needed.

New Zealanders

  • Continue to have unlimited work rights and access to Medicare.
  • Will have access to welfare payments and the JobKeeper payment if they hold a 444 visa and arrived in Australia before 26 February 2001.
  • Will be eligible for the JobKeeper payment but not JobSeeker or other welfare payments if they hold a 444 visa and arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001.
  • Will be expected to return to New Zealander if they cannot support themselves.

For all the latest information join our free weekly webinar: Tuesday, 7 April 2020.  Register here.

DISCLAIMER This information is current as of 4 April 2020 and subject to change. The information contained in this publication is of a general nature only. It should not be used as legal advice. To the extent permissible by law, Ajuria Lawyers and its associated entities shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, defects or misrepresentations in the information or for any loss or damage suffered by persons who use or rely on such information. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Have more specific questions about your visa? Get in touch with Ajuria Lawyers today.

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Author Ron Kessels

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