Q: I am currently in Australia on a tourist visa, what are my options?
Tourist visas only allow a temporary stay. Due to the current circumstances associated with COVID-19 all visitors are encouraged to leave Australia and return home.
Tourists unable to leave due to travel restrictions and border closures will need to apply for a new visa before their current visa expires. If a ‘No Further Stay’ (8503) condition is attached to your visa, you will need to request a waiver before lodging a new application.
Q: I am a student visa holder in Australia, what support do I have?
In light of these unusual circumstances the Australian Government is softening its approach regarding student visa conditions. There is now flexibility where COVID-19 and associated travel restrictions have prevented conditions being met, such as class attendance or use of online learning.
The Government has temporarily relaxed the 40-hour fortnightly work restriction for the following critical sectors – please note that your employer must have approvals from the Department of Immigration first:
- International students who are existing workers in major supermarkets working to get stock on shelves due to high demand (implemented 7 March). Return to the standard 40 hours a fortnight during term time will reconvene from 1 May 2020.
- International students who are existing workers in the aged care sector (implemented on 18 March 2020).
- Student visa holders enrolled in nursing can undertake work to help and support the health effort against COVID-19 as directed by health officials.
If you are unable to support yourself, the government urges you to return home, noting it is a condition of all student visas that access to funds to support themselves is available for the duration of their stay.
Q: I am a New Zealand citizen residing in Australia on a Subclass 444 visa, what support to I have?
If you are a protected Special Category Visa (SCV) New Zealand citizen and meet all eligibility requirements you are entitled to all welfare payments including the Job Seeker and Job Keeper payments.
If you are not a protected SCV New Zealand citizen and you hold a TY444 visa, you will still be eligible for the Job Keeper payments through your employer.
For more information regarding eligibility requirements get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: I am a Subclass 482/457 visa holder, how does the COVID-19 situation affect my visa status?
If you have lost your job i.e. ceased work for your current sponsor, you are required to find a new sponsor within 60 days or arrange to return to your country of residence.
If you have been stood down e.g. due to hospitality industry restrictions, you are not considered to have breached your visa condition (even if you are not working). Under these circumstances your sponsor will not be considered to have breached their sponsorship obligations.
However, you are not permitted to work for another employer as this will still be considered a breach of your visa condition.
Q: I am on a working holiday visa, what are my options?
You can apply for an extended WHM visa if you have undertaken specific areas of work for three months on your first WHM visa or six months on your second WHM visa.
For Subclass 417 visa holders, specified work includes:
- plant and animal cultivation in regional Australia;
- fishing and pearling in regional Australia;
- tree farming and felling in regional Australia;
- mining in regional Australia;
- construction in regional Australia; and
- bushfire recovery work in declared bushfire affected areas only, carried out after 31 July 2019.
For Subclass 462 visa holders, specified work includes:
- plant and animal cultivation in northern Australia and other specified areas of regional Australia;
- fishing and pearling in northern Australia only;
- tree farming and felling in northern Australia only;
- tourism and hospitality in northern Australia only;
- construction in northern Australia and other specified areas of regional Australia; and bushfire recovery
Q: My visa is about to expire and it is not possible for me to travel home due to COVID-19, what should I do?
The Department of Immigration has stated that temporary residents with no other visa options can apply for Subclass 408 under the Australian Government endorsed events stream, which has a dedicated pathway for people impacted by COVID-19.
Q: I need to travel to Australia, what are my options?
As per the current travel ban, you may travel to Australia if you are:
- an Australian citizen;
- permanent resident;
- an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident;
- or a New Zealand citizen usually resident in Australia.
Partner (subclasses 100, 309, 801, 820) and child (subclasses 101, 102, 445) visa holders are granted travel to Australia without requesting an exemption. At this stage, prospective Marriage (subclass 300) visa holders are not permitted entry.
If you are an immediate family member of the above-mentioned, you are required to provide evidence to the Department of Immigration before being granted permission to travel. For this purpose, immediate family is defined as:
- a spouse
- a de facto partner
- a dependent child/ren
- a legal guardian
Persons with compassionate or compelling reasons to travel to Australia will require an exemption from the Australian Border Force Commission. Exemptions require an online submission and are examined on a case-by-case basis.
If you would like any further clarification regarding your visa status and eligibility, please get in touch with our team at email@example.com