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Current situation for temporary visa holders in Australia

The government announced and continues to announce measures that affect temporary visa holders in Australia as a result of the crisis caused by the Covid-19.

This is a live post where we will keep updating you as more announcements are made:

Sponsorship visa Holders

The Minister of Immigration announced that sponsorship visa holders working in Australia, who have lost their jobs, have had their working hours reduced or have been stood down temporarily will not be in breach of their visa conditions and will be able to apply for a Permanent Residence visa later, if employment resumes after the COVID-19 crisis.

Be careful here as visa expiry dates are not changing: if your visa expires and you haven’t returned to work you still will have to apply for another visa and if you aren’t able to return to work and obtain your employer’s support you won’t be able to extend your sponsorship work visa, or apply for a permanent employer visa. Please contact us to discuss your specific situation and we will find the best options for you.

This measure brings a relief to many sponsorship visa holders, however it doesn’t change the fact that they still need an income to survive. Therefore, the Migration Institute of Australia (MIA) has been talking to the government and asking for more support, such as allowing sponsorship visa holders to work in different roles in the business or even allowing them leave of absence so they can work for another employer.

At least, sponsorship visa holders will now be able to have early access to their superannuation funds and cash out up to $10,000.00 before the end of the financial year (30 June 2020).

Working Holiday Visa Holders

Working holiday makers who are working in critical sectors such as health, aged and disability care, agriculture and food processing, and childcare will be allowed to work more than six months with the same employer and will be still eligible for a further visa to keep working in these same sectors.

Student Visa Holders

Aged care centres and supermarkets have been authorized by the government to allow international students to work full time and we hope there will be more flexibilities for international students and permission to work in different areas coming soon.

Update: Supermarkets are not part of this initiative anymore since 1st May – Students working for supermarkets must go back to their original visa conditions.

Besides that, Student Visa holders who have been in Australia for at least 12 months and who are facing financial hardship will be able to have early access to their superannuation. This also applies to Graduate 485 visa holders.  

How to access your superannuation:

Priscila Cerqueira from Cope Accountants  made a tutorial for us showing step by step how to lodge the application on MyGov Website and explaining who is eligible.

Help Available for Temporary Visa Holders during the Covid-19

Bravo Migration

Please feel free to contact us. We have set up a free hotline (02 9216 6600) to help you and provide facts and information.  We have also been sharing several posts, videos and important information on our social media daily, so please follow us for updates:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/BravoMigration/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/bravomigration/

Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/user/BravoMigration

Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/company/732728/admin/

State and Territory of Australia:

NT

On 17th of April Northern Territory was the first to launch a financial package to support International Students in the Territory. They announced a $20 Million Jobkeeper program for workers on temporary visas, including international students, sponsorship visa holders and other employees not covered by the Federal Government.

SA

Following the NT, South Australia released a $13.8 million package of help, with $500 emergency cash granted to all International Students and a different type of help for those enrolled at University of Adelaide, Flinders University and the University of South Australia.

See more on the link: https://studyadelaide.com/issp

TAS

Tasmania has extended their Pandemic Isolation Assistance Grants to Temporary Visa Holders who have been financially affected, via payments of $250 per person and up to $1000 per family. There is also funding for non-government organisations to help and financial aid to assist some people who can’t return home.

Check http://www.premier.tas.gov.au/releases/support_for_temporary_visa_holders for more details.

VIC

The Government of Victoria in partnership with tertiary education providers from the state have released a $45 million fund to support international students. Those who have lost their jobs or had a significant reduction to their income as a result of the coronavirus, will be able to apply for up to $1,100.

For more information and steps on how to apply, please check Study Melbourne website.

Other support provided by Victoria for Temporary Visa Holders is:

  • – Employment support through the Working for Victoria program
  • – Rental support
  • – Health costs waiver for people with symptoms of coronavirus

See more on COVID-19 support hub: https://www.studymelbourne.vic.gov.au/help-and-support/support-for-students-coronavirus

ACT

The Australian Capital Territory government has launched a $450,000 relief package for temporary visa holders. In addition, there is the ‘Jobs for Canberrans package’ which prioritises short-term employment to casual and workers ineligible for the Job Seeker and Job Keeper programs.

See more on the ACT official website.

QLD

Queensland Government has allocated a $2.2 million package to support international students with care-packs, pre-prepared meals and a digital platform to connect them to professional support counsellors when it comes to mental health, visa, crisis accommodation.

For more information, check – https://www.studyqueensland.qld.gov.au/Live/Student-Support/Information-COVID-19

WA

Western Australia has launched a program called StudyPerth Crisis Relief to provide Food, Shelter, legal rights, Health and wellbeing for international students facing financial hardship.

See how to apply in the link: https://www.studyperth.com.au/crisis-relief

NSW

On 15th May NSW has announced support with accommodation for international students, as part of the $20 million package to protect the vulnerable.

It includes a temporary housing scheme through student accommodation or homestay providers, as well as advice and information including the moratorium on rental evictions and medical, mental health, legal and emergency support.

For more information, please visit – https://education.nsw.gov.au/news/media-releases/nsw-government-supporting-international-students-through-covid-19

Red Cross

The Red Cross will be receiving funding from the Australian Government for the next six months to deliver emergency relief and support to temporary visa holders who are facing financial hardship. The assistance will include food, medicine and crisis accommodation.

Elegibility:

  • Be in Australia on a temporary visa;
  • Be in urgent financial hardship;
  • Have no access to Centrelink, Medicare or similar services;
  • Have no income, savings or other financial support (including from family overseas).

If you are in this situation, please contact Red Cross by email: nat_rc_msp@redcross.org.au  or check  their website for more information.

BRACCA

The Brazilian Community Council of Australia have implemented some initiatives to help the Brazilian community. They are running a fundraising campaign to help with essential services such as food and products of personal hygiene.

If you need help, please contact BRACCA by sending a message via their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/167816253279104/posts/2941461209247914/?d=n

This is the link to donate – https://www.gofundme.com/f/bracca-help?teamInvite=wn2hu2LXJP5Z1AtXLzcCWrRUThHuxFAWMF8TZhcUK7XVXBYfxCQHcKVujpz5N7xx&fbclid=IwAR1FrB-n4ae5NB23enjTpl-ftvCvS9-CZ_PKHy1Tlo9mLYu16ZaahYMDmP4

Help Line assistance – https://www.facebook.com/groups/207199997181334/?ref=share

In addition, there is also the BRACCA MIND, a program to offer mental health assistance in Portuguese and covered by OSH: https://www.bracca.org/braccamind

ISEAA

The International Student Education Agents Association has been advocating for international students in Australia and asking the Federal Government for:

  • – Free extension for all students affected to complete their studies before their visas expiry;
  • Access to Job Keeper program;
  • Support education provider and state initiatives to bring social welfare relief to students through foodbanks, accommodation and mental health support.
  • Ensure that all international students have access to emergency health services.


Coronavirus Australia app

The Australian Government has launched a “Coronavirus Australia” app available via the Apple App StoreGoogle Play, iOS or Android. The app provides the latest official advice and real-time updates to your mobile phone.

There is also a Whatsapp Channel that you can connect to – just add this phone number to your Whatsapp and text Hi – 0400 253 787

International Student Support from Study in Australia

https://www.studyinaustralia.gov.au/english/study-in-australia-student-support/study-in-australia-coronavirus-update

Updates for Temporary Visa holders in Australia

https://minister.homeaffairs.gov.au/davidcoleman/Pages/Coronavirus-and-Temporary-Visa-holders.aspx

In case of emergency

Dial 000 (For Fire, Police & Ambulance)

Mental Health Issues

Lifeline Australia 13 11 14
Youth Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
Headspace 1800 650 890

Australian citizens and permanent residents

About 6.5 million Australians citizens and Permanent Residents are eligible to receive a $750 per week as financial support during this crisis.

There are two different situations where people can ask for this help:

  • Jobseeker payment – for people who have lost their jobs;
  • Jobkeeper payment – when the company is going to continue employing you, so you keep connected to your employer somehow.

Early access to superannuation will also be available for early access to Australian citizens and permanent residents.

For those who have lost their jobs

Here are some ideas of where to look for jobs if you have lost yours:

– Even though hospitality is practically stopped at the moment, some other areas to look for jobs now are food manufactory, food delivery, IT companies, aged care, health and other businesses that operate online.