In addition to the health emergency, the Coronavirus has brought a lot of uncertainty to temporary visa holders about their future in Australia. We have received a lot of phone calls about travel restrictions, whether visa conditions would be strictly enforced and also about applying for financial assistance. Here is a brief summary of the situation as at 27 March 2020.
Only Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents can currently travel to Australia. In addition, NZ citizens usually resident here can also enter the country. In terms of leaving Australia, strict travel restrictions apply. Australian citizens and PRs cannot leave the country but this does not apply to temporary visa holders.
Visa conditions continue to apply
Amid all the Coronavirus crisis, the conditions attached to your visa continue to apply. For example, under the 482 visa, there is a condition that you must work for your employer who nominated you. If you no longer work for them, you have 60 days to find a new sponsor and get it approved.
If your visa is due to expire, take steps to secure a new visa if you otherwise unable to leave Australia. The visitor visa may be a viable option. If your visa has already expired, then make sure to apply for a Bridging Visa E. If you don’t hold any visa, you are considered an illegal non-citizen, and you could be put in detention.
Currently, there is almost no financial assistance available from the Government to temporary visa holders who have lost their jobs. This may well change as we expect the Government will recognise that they need to intervene in this situation. We will provide further updates as this situation evolves.