Minister of Immigration Announcement – Temporary visa holders
The Government has announced the following key changes to temporary visa holders arrangements during the covid-19 crisis:
Visitor visa holders
- Holders of visitor visas, typically lasting up to 3 months, are encouraged to return to their home country, particularly if they can’t access family support.
- Students are encouraged to rely on family support, part-time work arrangements if available and their savings.
- Students who have been in Australia longer than 12 months and who find themselves in financial hardship will be able to access their Australian superannuation.
- There will be flexibility in cases where Covid-19 has prevented international students from meeting their visa conditions such as not being able to attend classes.
- From 1 May, working hours for international students who had them extended to support major supermarkets will return to the maximum 40 hours a fortnight.
Working holiday makers supporting critical sectors
- In particular, working holiday makers who are working in 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 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.
- Working holiday makers that do not have the confidence to sustain themselves over the next six months are encouraged to leave the country.
New Zealanders on 444 visas
- Holders of Subclass 444 who arrived before 26 February 2001 will have access to welfare payments and the JobKeeper payment.
- Holders of Subclass 444 visa who arrived after 2001 have access to the JobKeeper payment but they do not have access to JobSeeker or other welfare payments.
- New Zealanders are encouraged to consider returning to New Zealand if they are unable to support themselves through these provisions, work or family support.
Temporary Skilled visa holders (on either a 2-year or 4-year visa)
- Temporary Skilled visa holders who have been stood down, but not laid off, will maintain their visa validity and will have the opportunity to extend it as per normal arrangements. They could also have their hours reduced without the person being in breach of visa condition.
- These visa holders will also be able to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation this financial year.
- Temporary Skilled visa holders who have been laid off due to coronavirus should leave the country in line with existing visa conditions if they are unable to secure a new sponsor. However, should a 4-year visa holder be re-employed after the coronavirus pandemic, their time already spent in Australia will count towards their permanent residency skilled work experience requirements.
Further announcements will be made with the Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister in the upcoming days.