Recently, the Government announced several changes for Visa holders during the coronavirus pandemic. Read more below about the specific concessions for the different visa classifications.
Temporary skilled and student visa holders able to access superannuation
Acting Immigration Minister Tudge has today announced that temporary visa holders will be able to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in this financial year to assist in supporting themselves through the coronavirus crisis. Read the full media release from The Hon Alan Tudge MP.
Key facts from the statement:
Temporary Skilled (TSS) Visa holders
These visa holders will also be able to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation this financial year.
International Student Visa holders
Students who have been here longer than 12 months who find themselves in financial hardship will be able to access their Australian superannuation.
New Zealand citizens on Visa Class 444; financial assistance clarified
New Zealanders on SC 444 visas and who arrived before 26 February 2001 are eligible to access Australian welfare payments and the JobKeeper Payment.
New Zealanders on SC 444 visas and who arrived after 2001 have access to the JobKeeper Payment. Those who have lived in Australia for 10 years or more also have access to JobSeeker payments for six months.
The Government is advising those New Zealanders who are unable to support themselves through these provisions, work or family support should consider returning to New Zealand.
International Student Visa holders
Acting Minister Tudge has announced that the Government will undertake further engagement with the international education sector who already provide some financial support for international students facing hardship.
Key facts from his media release this morning:
- International students working in supermarkets will have their working hours return to the maximum 40 hours a fortnight on 1 May as more Australians are being recruited into these roles,
- International students working in aged care and as nurses continue to have their hours extended to support these critical sectors,
- The Government will also be flexible in cases where Coronavirus has prevented international students from meeting their visa conditions (such as not being able to attend classes).
Changes for Working Holiday and Seasonal Worker visa holders onshore
A joint statement was also released by the Hon David Littleproud MP, the Hon Michael McCormack MP and the Hon Allan Tudge MP on changes that will help support the agriculture workforce during COVID-19.
- Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme workers can extend their stay for up to 12 months to work for approved employers (ensuring pastoral care and accommodation needs of workers are met to minimise health risks to visa holders and the community),
- Approved employers under the Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme will need to continue engaging with the Department of Education, Skills and Employment on labour market testing to ensure recruitment of Australians first,
- Working Holiday Makers (WHMs) who work in agriculture or food processing 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,
- Conditions will be placed upon visa holders to self-isolate for 14 days before taking up employment in a different region (including termination of visas where there is non-compliance),
- To support the implementation of self-isolation arrangements for visa holders and avoid the 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,
- An 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.
At this stage, there is no further information on the specifics of any of these announcements, how applicants should make an application or how soon these changes will be available to visa holders.
Seasonal workers are managed through approved labour companies and have been notified separately of these processes.
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