COVID-19 Impact on Australian temporary visa holders

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In this blog, we are going to discuss the impact created by the COVID-19 on Australian temporary Visa holders including TSS/Subclass482 and the student visas/Subclass500.

The majority of the 457/482 visa holders work in trade and skill shortage industry and most of these businesses come under a small or medium-size category. In the past two weeks, there is enormous uncertainty for many restaurants, hotels, and manufacturing sector businesses, where these establishments are either closed temporarily or cut down their production & service output drastically, resulting thousands of full time, part-time casual workforce to be unemployed temporarily or in some cases permanently. Since the Australian Government banned the outbound travel and many of the international border closures left thousands of temporary visa holders got stranded in Australia.

It is important that we need to understand this is an unprecedented crisis and not just Australia but the majority of the Globe with over 120 countries are affected and many are in bad crisis. With our knowledge and information through various reliable sources that the Government is aware of the situation and working to resolve a solution for many redundant employees.  Many industry forums, associations and the opposition have raised this issue with the Government too.

If your visa is getting expired or about to expire, the visa holders should apply for a bridging visa but not to let them into a situation of overstay and becoming an illegal immigrant. They must apply for a new visa before their current visa expires. In majority of cases, applicants will be granted a bridging visa that will allow them to remain in the country legally until the Home affairs decides on their application outcome.

There are specific clauses like ‘no further stay’ condition, which includes 8503, 8534 and 8535 codes in some visas, they can apply for the waiver for the conditions. In such cases, the applicants need to fill and submit Form 1447 to request a waiver along with documentary evidence to support their claims.

Can my employer ask me to stay at home without pay or terminate my employment?

In case of a temporary shutdown of your business, as 457/482 visa holder, you have few options as your employer may ask you to go on LWOP (Leave without pay), which is acceptable and you can be in LWOP for up to three months under current visa rules and return to the employer once things are back to normal. However, the reduced working hours are NOT advisable as your current 457 or 482 has a stipulated minimum wage condition and the revised work contract and an additional Australia Training fund levy are applicable.

In case of the permanent shutdown of the businesses you have 60 days to find a new employer or in case of return to the home country your employer may assist you with airfare cost, However, returning to your home country may be logistically not possible as many airlines are grounded and borders are shut.

If temporary visa holders found the symptoms of Covid 19, they are eligible to reach out to the official helpline and get themselves tested. 

What is the Condition for Student Visa? Are there any Changes?

For students whom their visas are about to expire and completing their studies, they can apply for 485 post-study visas or extend their student visa with the new course enrolment letter as this process is unchanged. However, it is important that all the temporary visa holders in Australia should realize that they are expected to reach out to the department for any lawful extension of the visa for them to remain in Australia until the situation gets to Normal.

Baasu’s Advise:

All temporary visa holders should aware that they need to seek help or extend their visas only in a lawful manner with professional advice and help. If they are in a situation of visa expiry, unemployed and struck with travel restrictions they should not ignore and face the department action off late. We at Baasu working from home and our advisors can be reached through ask@baasu.com /info@baasu.com.

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