A guide to JobKeeper and JobSeeker for skilled migrants, seasonal workers and international students living in Australia.
- 2.17 million temporary visa holders living in Australia are at risk of losing their job or are already unemployed due to COVID-19
- More than 565,000 international students were in Australia when the coronavirus pandemic hit
- Temporary visa holders have no access to the Government’s $130 billion JobKeeper wage subsidy program or the expanded JobSeeker welfare payment
- Many cannot return home due to sky-high flight costs, unavailability of flights and closed borders
I am living in Australia on a temporary visa. Am I eligible for JobKeeper or JobSeeker?
Unfortunately, most temporary visa holders, including skilled migrants, seasonal workers and international students, are not currently eligible for JobSeeker or JobKeeper, or if they are it is very limited.
I am a New Zealander. Am I eligible for JobKeeper or JobSeeker?
The Government has listened to some of Labor’s calls and now many New Zealanders living in Australia are eligible for the JobKeeper wage subsidy.
New Zealanders who arrived in Australia on a Subclass 444 Special Category Visa before 26 February 2001 are eligible for both JobKeeper and JobSeeker.
However, New Zealanders who arrived in Australia on a Subclass 444 Special Category Visa after 2001 are eligible for JobKeeper, but not JobSeeker, unless they have lived in Australia for more than 10 years, in which case they are eligible for six months of JobSeeker.
For more information, contact Services Australia.
I am struggling financially due to COVID-19. What assistance is available from the government?
The Government is now providing early access to superannuation for most temporary migrants with work rights after Labor called for this. This includes international students who have been in Australia for more than 12 months.
Eligible visa holders can access up to $10,000 of superannuation funds this financial year, and another $10,000 in the 2020/2021 financial year.
You can apply via the MyGov website.
I am on a sponsored visa and I have been stood down or laid off. Can I have my visa extended?
People on sponsored visas who have been stood down can have their visas extended under normal arrangements. Your employer may also be able to reduce your hours without breaching your visa conditions.
The Government has not provided support for people who are sponsored and have lost their employment and unable to find a new sponsor.
I am on a Working Holiday visa and I can’t get home. Can I extend my stay in Australia?
If you hold a Working Holiday visa and are working in health, aged and disability care, agriculture, food processing or childcare, you may be able to extend your stay in Australia. The Government has also made an exemption to critical industries meaning that you may stay with the same employer for more than six months. You will also be eligible for a further visa to keep working in these sectors if your current visa is due to expire in the next six months.
They will also be eligible for a further visa to keep working in these sectors if their current visa is due to expire in the next six months.
I think I should receive more assistance from the Government. How can I make my voice heard?
While the Government has not yet provided meaningful support to temporary visa holders who cannot return home, it is important to know that two Government Ministers can, with the stroke of a pen, change all of that.
Thanks to Labor's work in the Parliament, the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, and the Social Services Minister, Anne Ruston, can now provide any temporary visa holders with access to JobKeeper, JobSeeker or other appropriate social security payments.
This means the only person standing in the way of temporary visa holders accessing JobKeeper is the Treasurer. And, the only person standing in the way of temporary visa holders accessing JobSeeker or any other social security payments is Minister Ruston.
Email the Treasurer at [email protected].
Email the Social Services Minister at [email protected].
What is Labor doing to protect temporary visa holders during the pandemic?
Labor is calling on the Government to ensure that all temporary visa holders can access coronavirus testing and treatment on a doctor’s recommendation. And where they have no other way to support themselves, coronavirus income support to avoid hardship, and ensure they can do the right thing and prevent the spread of the virus.
In the interests of public health, this needs to be done where people are required to self isolate or are in severe hardship and have no other way to support themselves.
What else can I do?
- Talk to your landlord about reducing your rent
- Talk to your utility providers about assistance with paying your bills
- If you are an international student, seek assistance from your university such as
- Reduction of the Student Services and Amenities Fee
- Support grants
- Emergency food assistance
- Financial hardship grants
- Seek free financial counselling
- Contact the National Debt Hotline
Mental Health Support
Lifeline Australia - 13 11 14
Youth Beyond Blue - 1300 224 636
Headspace - 1800 650 890