Coronavirus in Australia

New rules for Backpackers, Students and Tempory Visa Holders

farm work australia

New hope for backpackers after Government announces new regulations for working holiday visas

Furthermore, the corona virus has a firm grip on most countries in the world. Australia has also introduced many foreclosure regulations to contain COVID-19 as much as possible. In this context, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison advised all "visitors and international students" to go home if they did not have the financial means to take care of themselves in these difficult times. With this, Morrison made a clear statement that all backpackers, international students and temporary visa holders cannot expect financial support from the Australian government.

"As much as it's lovely to have visitors to Australia in good times, at times like this, if you are a visitor in this country, it is time… to make your way home."

Scott Morrison, Australian Prime Minister (01.04.2020/XNUMX/XNUMX)

Just a few days later (April 05.04.2020, XNUMX), Scott Morrison put his statement into perspective again after the Federal Government announced new regulations for backpackers, international students and temporary visa holders. In this article we explain what new rules are emerging for these groups.

Attention:

This article is updated and expanded regularly. No liability is assumed for the correctness and completeness of this compilation of information and links. For more detailed information, please contact the Foreign Office. We have also set up a Facebook group where we offer help for all work & travelers, students and au pairs abroad whose stay abroad has been affected by COVID-19. Regardless of whether you are already abroad or still planning. Join our group and stay up to date.

Australia & COVID-19

Working Holiday Visa Australia

Backpackers can extend their stay in Australia by up to 12 months if they work in agriculture or another essential industry (e.g. healthcare or care).

Minister of Agriculture David Littleproud said extending visas for backpackers would ensure that farmers have enough workers to bring their crops to the fields and harvest them. In addition, the previous time limit of 6 months with the same employer will be at least temporarily not apply. Previously, travellers with a Working Holiday Visa could only work for a maximum of 6 months with the same employer.

To protect the local communities, backpackers who travel to work in a new community must self-isolate for 14 days to prevent the spread of the corona virus in rural areas. The Australian government has announced that it will support this process by providing suitable accommodation.

At the same time, there should be consistent measures if the rules are not observed, says Littleproud. "We work with the official authorities to ensure that this is monitored and that any backpacker or seasonal worker who violates these regulations immediately loses their visa rights and is sent home."

Existing category 417 or 462 visa holders who work in critical sectors and are unable to meet the required 3 or 6 months (for 2nd or 3rd year visa) and who cannot return to their home country can apply for a visa subclass 408. It is a temporary activity visa so that the backpacker can stay and work temporarily in Australia after the actual working holiday visa has expired.

Attention:
Backpackers with a Working Holiday Visa can also access their superannuation tax-free. You will find all the information in this Australian Government Document.

Key Facts:

  • Extension of the Working Holiday Visa for work in agriculture, nursing or aged care
  • 14-day self-isolation on a work-related trip to a new region
  • Support for accommodation for work-related self-isolation announced by employers and authorities
  • Tax-free access to superannuation up to AUD 10.000

Critical Sectors:

  • Health care, aged care, and disability care
  • Agriculture
  • Food processing (including fruit picking)
  • Childcare
Fruit picking is one of the critical sectors during the Corona crisis in Australia

International students in Australia

More than 500.000 international students were in Australia before the coronavirus outbreak. Many of them are heavily in debt and usually have one or more part-time jobs in order to study one or more semesters down under.

Within a very short time, the corona pandemic changed everything for hundreds of thousands of international students in Australia. Universities were closed and many lost their jobs, forcing them to return home. The remaining students are also looking into an uncertain future, because nobody knows when the job market will recover.

However, the latest changes by the Federal Government bring some improvements for international students. Working hours restrictions are being loosened so that temporary Visa Holders can now work up to 40 hours a week in supermarkets or in elderly care to meet the increased demand. In addition, the approximately 20.000 international healthcare students could be placed on the front line for nursing jobs and support Australia in the fight against COVID-19.

The government has also announced that most Temporary Visa Holders with working rights will be able to withdraw up to $ 10.000 from their Australian superannuation (retirement pension) this fiscal year to help them tackle financial problems caused by the Corona crisis.

Key Facts:

  • Loosening the limitation of the maximum weekly working hours from 20 to 40 hours in nursing and care for the elderly
  • Loosening the limitation of the maximum weekly working hours from 20 to 40 hours for work in supermarkets from 01.03.2020 to 01.05.2020
  • Access to up to $ 10.000 from Australian superannuation for students who have been studying in Australia for 12 months

Skilled Visa Holders

Skilled Visa Holders can also withdraw up to $ 10.000 from their Australian superannuation account to provide financial relief.

Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge said that people with Skilled Visa who have been temporarily stood down (and not let go) can extend their visa under normal conditions. In addition, companies can shorten the working hours of these visa holders without violating the conditions.

However, he also said that those who have lost their job and cannot find a new sponsor should leave the country.

"However, should a 4-year visa holder be reinstated after the coronavirus pandemic, the time spent in Australia will be counted towards the work experience requirements required to apply for a permanent visa," said Tudge.

Key Facts:

  • Previous time of employment counts for permanent residency when visa holders find new employers (sponsors) after the Corona crisis
  • Access up to $ 10.000 from Australian superannuation
  • Loosening weekly working hours conditions to meet visa requirements

Work and Travel Visa FAQ

There is a 14-day self-isolation obligation upon entry, which you should definitely follow. Violators face fines of up to AUD 17.000 or up to 6 months in prison.

No.

If you are not yet in Australia, you can no longer enter Australia with the Working Holiday Visa (Work & Travel) until further notice.

There is no minimum duration.

The entry ban was initially introduced for an indefinite period. How the situation is developing worldwide is being observed closely. It is not yet possible to predict when the entry requirements will be relaxed again.

No.

If you are already in the country, you do not have to leave as long as you meet the visa requirements.

Yes.

Yes, you can of course leave the country. However, it is currently not easy to find a suitable flight. Many flights were canceled and airlines have largely stopped operating. The few flights available are extremely expensive.

7News Contribution to Australia's Border Closure

Useful links and further information

Here you will find further information on the development of the corona virus. Keep up to date and keep yourself informed on the website of the Federal Foreign Office.

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Useful Links

Info pages of the most common foreign health insurance providers

Statements from various ERASMUS networks on COVID-19:

Attention:

This article is updated and expanded regularly. No liability is assumed for the correctness and completeness of this compilation of information and links. For more detailed information, please contact the Foreign Office. We have also set up a Facebook group where we offer help for all work & travelers, students and au pairs abroad whose stay abroad has been affected by COVID-19. Regardless of whether you are already abroad or still planning. Join our group and stay up to date.

Support others! Do good in difficult times!

Worldwide, the Corona virus is reported almost exclusively. The devastating bush fires in Australia seem to have long been forgotten. Nevertheless, there are still many construction sites here and there is above all a lack of financial support for non-profit organizations. We want to help and you can too!

Have you booked your Work & Travel adventure through a Work & Travel organization? Take 5 minutes and give a short, free review about the organization. You are not only helping other adventurers to find a suitable organization, you are also supporting a good cause! For every rating we give, we donate 10 cents to the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital on the Gold Coast in Australia. In addition, we are giving away Amazon vouchers under all ratings.

work and travel australia
For each review, we will donate 10 cents to the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital Foundation
on the Gold Coast
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