The Australian Government has announced they are making changes to temporary visa holder arrangements due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
These changes will mainly affect Student visa holders, Temporary Skilled visa holders and Working Holiday makers. The Government recognises the integral value of temporary visa holders in Australia and will make the following concessions.
Student visa holders
- Students are encouraged to rely upon family support, part-time work and own savings to financially support themselves during this time;
- Students who have been in Australia for over 12 months and experience financial hardship, will be permitted to access their Australian superannuation;
- There will be flexibility with visa conditions if Students have been unable to attend class due to COVID-19;
- Students working in aged care and as nurses are permitted to work beyond the maximum of 40 hours per fortnight (as per current student visa condition); and
- Students working in major supermarkets are permitted to work in excess of 40 hours per fortnight until 1 May 2020.
Temporary Skilled visa holders (Temporary Skill shortage (Subclass 482) visa)
- Visa holders who have been stood down (but not laid off) will maintain their visa validity and business can extend their visa as per normal arrangements (sponsoring for another Subclass 482 visa before visa expiry);
- Sponsors can reduce the hours of visa holders without them being in breach of their working condition;
- Visa holders are permitted to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation this financial year; and
- Visa holders who have been laid off are encouraged to depart Australia if they cannot find a new sponsor. However, should an applicant with a four year visa be re-employed after the pandemic,
- their time already spent in Australia will count towards their permanent residency application in future.
Working Holiday makers
- Visa holders working in critical sectors of health, such as aged and disability care, agriculture and food processing and childcare are exempt from the six-month work limitation and may apply for a further visa to keep working in these sectors.
Other temporary visa holders (including Graduate (Subclass 485))
- Visa holders are permitted to access their superannuation should they be experiencing financial hardship.
Whilst temporary visa holders are unable to access Job Seeker or Job Keeper payments, the Government is making arrangements for access to superannuation should financial hardship be experience during these unprecedented times.
If you have any questions or would like to clarify your status in Australia, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Stay safe and stay healthy.