Migration update - Changes to temporary visas

Update: 06 April 2020


On 4 April 2020, the Acting Minister for Immigration, Mr Allan Tudge, announced number of changes that will impact temporary visa holders.

International Students

  • Students that have lived in Australia for more than 12 months facing financial hardship will be able to access their Australian superannuation.
  • Students are encouraged to rely on family support, part-time work where available and personal savings. If they are unable to support themselves to consider departing Australia.
  • International students in their first 12 months are expected to support themselves given their visa application commitment that they had sufficient funds to support their stay in Australia.
  • International students working in supermarkets will have the extended hours available until 1 May 2020, after which their hours will return to maximum 40 hours a fortnight. This is because more Australians are being recruited in to these roles.
  • International students in aged care and as nurses will continue to have extended hours to support the critical sectors.
  • The government will be flexible in cases where the corona virus has prevented international students meeting their visa conditions, such as not being able to attend classes.
  • Government will undertake further engagement with the international education sector

Temporary skilled visa holders

  • 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 be able to reduce the hours of the visa holder without the person being in breach of their visa condition.
  • These visa holders will be able to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation this financial year.
  • Visa holders laid off due to corona virus should leave the country in line with existing visa conditions if they are unable to  secure a new sponsor.
  • Should a 4-year visa holder be re-employed after the corona virus pandemic, their time already spent in Australia will count towards their permanent residency skilled work experience requirements.

Working Holiday

  • Working Holiday Makers (WHMs) who work in agriculture or food processing will be exempt from the six month work limitation with the one employer and eligible for a further visa to keep working in these critical sectors if their current visa is due to expire in the next six months.

Seasonal Worker Program

  • Seasonal Worker Program and Pacific Labour Scheme workers can extend their stay for up to 12 months to work for approved employers.

New Zealanders on 444 visas

  • New Zealanders who are on 444 visas and arrived before 26 February will have access to welfare and jobseeker payment.
  • 444 visa holders who arrived after 2001 will have access to welfare payments and the JobKeeper payment. Those who have lived in Australia for 10 years will have access to Jobseeker payments for six months.

Visitor visa holders

  • The government encouraged visitor visa holders to return home as quickly as possible.

Contact us

If you are impacted by these changes and need immigration advice or assistance, call us on 1300 98 70 71 or email us on Skilled.Migration.Service@ames.net.au and speak to a Registered Migration Agent.