Coronavirus and Temporary Visa Holders

Coronavirus and Temporary Visa Holders

The Australian Government is carrying forward initiatives to assist temporary visa holders during the coronavirus crisis.

These initiatives aim to provide some flexibility in relation to further visa applications and adjust visa conditions, as well as seeking to support critical industries.

The jobkeeper initiative will enable the Government to subsidise wages of Australian citizens and permanent residents, while many New Zealanders will also be covered by this initiative, but not temporary residents.

However, other initiatives will assist temporary visa holders during this period.

Find out more about the below:

Temporary Skilled Visa Holders

Holders of Subclass 457 or 482 visas who have been “stood down” but not terminated will maintain their visa validity and businesses will still be able to extend stay of those visa holders under existing arrangements.

Businesses will also be able to reduce the hours of the visa holder without the person being in breach of their visa condition or the business breaching their sponsorship obligations, which is a variation on usual arrangements.

These visa holders will also be able to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation this financial year. Usually, withdrawal of superannuation can only occur after departing Australia and cessation of the work visa but this concession has been introduced to address those suffering financial hardship.

Those visa holders who have been terminated are subject to existing laws, meaning their visas could be cancelled, but should the be re-hired or find an alternative sponsor will still have the opportunity to apply to remain. If re-employed by the same employer, the time they have already worked will count towards the qualification period for applying for an Employer Nomination visa.

If you have questions about your visa, book a phone or Skype appointment to speak to one of our migration agents 

International Students

Students are encouraged to rely on family support, part-time work where available and their own savings to sustain themselves in Australia. The Government’s position is that when applying for their visas, they demonstrated that they can support themselves completely in their first year.

Students who have been here longer than 12 months who find themselves in financial hardship will be able to access their Australian superannuation.

The Government will undertake further engagement with the international education sector who already provide some financial support for international students facing hardship. It is understood that some education providers are providing fee discounts to international students.

The Government will also be flexible in cases where Coronavirus has prevented international students meeting their visa conditions (such as not being able to attend classes).

International students are usually able to work up to 40 hours per fortnight once they have commenced their course, but those working in aged care and as nurses, as well as those working for major supermarkets, have had these hours extended to support these critical sectors. From 1 May, the concession for extra working hours at supermarkets will be removed as more Australians are recruited.
If you have questions about your visa, book a phone or Skype appointment to speak to one of our migration agents 

Working Holiday Visa Holders

Working Holiday visa holders who work in agriculture or food processing will be exempt from the six month work limitation with the one employer and 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.

These visa holders, though, must self-isolate for 14 days before taking up employment in a different region. To support implementation of self-isolation arrangements for visa holders and avoid spread of COVID-19 the government is working with states and territories on enforcement and sanction mechanisms. Employers will need to commit to providing safe accommodation for agricultural workers that complies with social distancing requirements.

Arrangement will also need to be in place for a declaration between employers and employees that all protocols necessary to ensure human health and accommodation requirements have been met.

Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme workers will also be able to extend their stay for up to 12 months to work for employers who participate in those schemes. Employers will similarly be responsible for ensuring healthy living arrangements. These employers will need to continue to engage with the Department of Employment

Note that any Working Holiday visa holders breaching social distancing laws will be fined, sent home and the breach will affect any future visa applications.

New Zealand Citizens

444 visa holders who arrived after 2001 have access to the JobKeeper payment. Those who have lived in Australia for 10 years or more have access to JobSeeker payments for six months.

New Zealanders should consider returning to New Zealand if they are unable to support themselves through these provisions, work or family support.

While these changes are detailed, there are visa holders that may find them confusing. If you have questions, book a consultation with one of our experienced Registered Migration Agents to discuss your specific situation.
If you have questions about your visa, book a phone or Skype appointment to speak to one of our migration agents 

General informaiton about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Find more information about Coronovirus at the links belo:

For the latest information see Department of Health – Novel coronavirus

For advice on travelling outside of Australia see Smart Traveller.