COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) has affected both Australian visa holders and those who are waiting to be issued their Australian visas.
On 4 April 2020, Australian Government Announced Important visa changes to International Students, Visitor, TSS & 457, Working Holiday and SCV444 Visa holders in Australia.
Students who have been here longer than 12 months who find themselves in financial hardship will be able to access their Australian superannuation.
International students are able to work up to 40 hours per fortnight.
International students working in aged care and as nurses have had these hours extended to support these critical sectors.
International students working in the major supermarkets had also had these hours extended to help get stock on shelves during the high demand. From 1 May, their hours will return to the maximum 40 hours a fortnight as more Australians are being recruited into these roles.
Temporary Skilled (TSS) and 457 Visa Holder:
Those 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. Businesses will also be able to reduce the hours of the visa holder without the person being in breach of their visa condition.
These visa holders will also be able to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation this financial year.
Those 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.
Visitor Visa holders:
International tourists should return to their home country as quickly as possible, particularly those without family support.
Working holiday makers supporting critical sectors
There are about 118,000 people in Australia on a Working Holiday visa (or backpacker visa) – a visa which provides conditional work rights.
To support the critical sectors of heath, aged and disability care, agriculture and food processing, and childcare, some limited flexibility will be provided.
In particular, working holiday makers who are working in these critical sectors 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.
In general, working holiday makers that do not have the confidence to sustain themselves over the next six months should make arrangements to leave the country.
There are another 185,000 other temporary visa holders in Australia, about half of them temporary graduate visa holders. They will also be able to access their Australian superannuation if needed for support.
New Zealanders on 444 visas
New Zealanders and Australians have reciprocal arrangements whereby we can each stay and work in each other's country. There are more than 672,000 New Zealanders in Australia on a subclass 444 visa.
New Zealanders who are on 444 visas and arrived before 26 February 2001 will have access to welfare payments and the JobKeeper payment.
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.
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