Estrin Saul Visa Update - ' Possible COVID-10 relief measures for temporary visa holders'
The government is considering assisting temporary visa holders affected by COVID-19 lockdowns, especially those working in industries that stand to lose their jobs (especially tourism and hospitality) or are stood down temporarily.
While no concrete announcement has been made, it appears that both the Immigration and Social Services Ministers are seriously considering the following "basic safety net" measures:
- temporary visa holders may be eligible for the Special Benefit payment and the $550 coronavirus supplement if they can show "severe financial hardship"
- the financial hardship test for Special Benefit will likely be a Centrelink calculation and differ from the usual "work rights" test for financial hardship in the migration context (in that it may allow limited savings)
- the government may allow increased flexibility in relation to visa conditions for those in the health, aged care, agriculture and other essential services sectors
- possible temporary medicare access may be granted to some temporary visa holders, especially those on overseas health cover policies which do not cover pandemics;
- visa extensions for certain cohorts of temporary visa holders are also being considered.
It is as yet unclear which measures the government will implement, which visa subclasses will be included and when they come into effect, but the indication is that some relief is on its way. As always. we will keep you updated on any concrete developments.
Advice on visa conditions and assistance eligibility
If you are affected and wish to seek legal advice on your options to stay in Australia or are concerned about breaching your visa conditions, contact Estrin Saul Lawyers immediately for advice.