EMC
:
Australia/Melbourne
cover-19-Temporary Visa holder
SHARE
SHARE
SHARE

Temporary Visa Holders Frequently Asked Questions

Current as at 4 April 2020

This update is provided by The Department of Home Affairs for Temporary Visa holders who may be affected by COVID-19 pandemic. 

                                             Visitor Visa Holders

Visitor visa holders in Australia should return home if it is possible to do so. 

What can I do if I cannot return to my home country? 

If you cannot return to your home country, you need to maintain a valid visa and engage with the health system when necessary. 

Visitor visa holders should apply for a new visa before their current visa expires to maintain their lawful status. 

If a visitor has a “No Further Stay” condition on their visa (including 8503, 8534 or 8535) and less than two months validity remaining, they can request a waiver of this condition to allow them to lodge a new visa application. 

                             Employer sponsored temporary work visas

I am a Temporary Skill Shortage visa holder – what should I do if I have be stood down or my hours are reduced? 

Temporary Skill Shortage visa holders who have been stood down, but not laid off, will maintain their visa validity and businesses will have the opportunity to extend their visa as per normal arrangements. 

Businesses will also be able to reduce the hours of the visa holder without the person being in breach of their visa conditions or the business being in breach of their employer obligations. 

I have lost my job due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what are my options 

Those who are laid off (that is, they are unemployed) should find another employer within 60 days or make arrangements to depart Australia, where this is possible. 

I can’t find another employer what should I do? 

Those visa holders who have been laid off due to coronavirus and who cannot find another employer to sponsor them, should make arrangements to depart Australia.

What can I do if I cannot return to my home country? 

If you cannot return to your home country, you need to maintain a valid visa and engage with the health system when necessary. 

                                               International students

The Government has temporarily relaxed the enforcement of the 40 hour work limitation for the following critical sectors: 

International students who are existing workers in major supermarkets to help get stock on shelves due to high demand (implemented 7 March). These students will be required to return to the standard 40 hours a fortnight during term time from 1 May 2020. 

Student visa holders who are enrolled in nursing can undertake work to help and support the health effort against COVID-19 as directed by health officials. 

How will students be assured they will not jeopardise their visa? 

Written advice will be provided to approved employers setting out the temporary relaxation of working hours for student visa holders. 

What type of work can students undertake under these arrangements? 

The temporary arrangements only apply to student visa holders working in supermarkets or aged care providers, as well as student nurses who are supporting health efforts against COVID-19 as directed by health officials. 

The arrangements only apply to existing workers in their existing roles. 

As the COVID-19 situation develops, it will be determined whether similar measures are required in other critical sectors to ensure the supply of essential goods and services to Australians. 

I am unable to support myself in Australia, what can I do? 

If you are unable to support yourself, you should make arrangements to return to your usual country of residence, noting that it is a condition of all student visas that holders have access to funds to support themselves for the duration of their stay in Australia. 

The Government will continue to engage with the international education sector which is providing some financial support for international students facing hardship. 

                                              Working holiday makers

I am on a WHM visa and am unable to support myself in Australia, what can I do? 

If you are unable to support yourself, you should make arrangements to return home. 

Can I extend my current visa to stay in Australia if I am unable to return to my home country? 

You can apply for a further WHM visa if you have undertaken specified work for three months on your first WHM visa or six months on your second WHM visa. 

You must apply for a new visa before your current visa expires. You may be eligible to be granted a bridging visa that will keep you lawful until a decision is made on your visa application. 

I have applied for my second or third WHM visa. Can I keep working while I am waiting for a decision on my application? 

While your new application is being processed, a bridging visa will come into effect which generally carries the same conditions as your previous visa, including in relation to work rights. You and your employer can check Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) at any time to confirm your work rights. 

Due to COVID-19, I couldn’t complete the specified work I need to apply for my second or third WHM visa. Can I extend my visa to give me more time to look for work? 

If you have not completed the 3 or 6 months of specified work required to apply for a second or third WHM visa, you should apply for another visa to remain lawfully in Australia until you are able to depart. 

If you are working in the health, aged and disability care, agriculture, food processing or childcare sectors and are unable to return to your home country, you can apply for the Temporary Activity (subclass 408) Australian Government Endorsed Event (AGEE) stream visa. 

                                                  Bridging visa holders

If your visa has expired or is about to expire you should consider returning to your home country as quickly as possible if you are able to, particularly if you do not have family support.

Temporary visa holders who are unable to support themselves over the next six months are strongly encouraged to return home and to make arrangements as quickly as possible to do so. 

If you cannot depart Australia, you need to apply for a Bridging visa in order to regularise your visa status. You will be expected to depart Australia when travel restrictions are lifted. 

I am a Bridging visa holder in Australia and my substantive application is pending a decision. What does this mean for my Bridging visa? 

Your Bridging visa will keep you lawfully in Australia until a decision has been made on your substantive visa application. If your substantive visa is not granted, and you are unable to depart Australia, you will need to apply for a further Bridging visa to keep you lawful. 

Bridging visa holders with ongoing matters at Merits or Judicial Review? 

Your Bridging visa will keep you lawfully in Australia until the review decision has been finalised. If your substantive visa is not granted, and you are unable to depart Australia, you will need to apply for a further Bridging visa to keep you lawful. 

My Bridging visa expires on a specific date. What should I do? 

If your Bridging visa specifies a validity date, and you are unable to depart Australia, you should apply for a further Bridging visa before it expires. 

I am a Bridging visa holder but need some temporary support. Is there any available? 

Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) provides support for certain non-citizens who are in the Australian community temporarily while their immigration status is being determined. The SRSS program provides short-term, tailored support to individuals who are unable to support themselves while they engage with the Department of Home Affairs to resolve their immigration status. It is not an ongoing welfare entitlement. 

People who are actively engaged with the Department to resolve their immigration status and need assistance to overcome barriers to that resolution, may be eligible to be provided with short term support in order to resolve that barrier. 

Individuals on a bridging visa with work rights, and who have the capacity to work, are expected to support themselves while their immigration status is being resolved. 

During the COVID-19 period, applications for support under SRSS will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. 

I am a Bridging visa holder. Am I able to work? 

If your Bridging visa does not let you work, or has restrictions on working, you can apply for another Bridging visa that lets you work. This is only available in some circumstances and you will usually have to demonstrate that you are in financial hardship.

We encourage you to regularly visit Home Affairs website for update. 

https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au

You should always rely on information from the Govt. sources. There are a lot of information trending on social media which you should refrain from. You can also contact Registered Migration Agent for any advice. 

For previous posts that may be useful you can visit

https://www.emcaustralia.com.au/blog/

Table of Contents