Backpackers and Temporary Visa Holders COVID 19 news August 2020

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With a global pandemic and restrictions in force, Backpackers and Working holiday visa holders in Australia face much uncertainty.  If you are moving between states for work, you may face being quarantined at a government nominated venue for 14 days. Strict controls are being put in place to curb COVID -19, including travel restrictions, which means many workers face unemployment.

To protect yourself, and keep your visa active, stay updated on public health directions and observe the latest travel and health guidelines. Read our summary below for problems usually faced by short-term visitors along with some useful information.

Working Holiday Visa Holders Australia

If you are in Australia on a working holiday visa and currently unemployed, harvest work, which is seasonal, is an option. Australia’s agriculture sector relies heavily on seasonal foreign labour. Working holiday visa holders in Australia could look for work in the following critical sectors:

  • Health
  • Aged and disability care
  • Agriculture and food processing
  • Childcare

Further, there are opportunities in the agribusiness and commercial fishing for Working holiday visa holders, in skilled and unskilled roles as well. Jobs include picking fruit and vegetables, working in packing sheds, canneries and other processing plants or factories, pruning and planting. 

Temporary Work Visa Holders Australia

Temporary work visa holders in Australia who have been laid off may be unable to move to another job due to visa restrictions and due to enforced travel restrictions. Breaching quarantine or failure to comply with health restrictions may result in your visa being cancelled, fines and other penalties. Temporary visa holders in Australia who cannot leave and cannot get financial support may be forced to continue working. 

Food, Rent and Medical Concerns

Rent and lodging could be another issue for backpackers, Working holiday visa holders and Temporary work visa holders. They may have to engage in unregulated work as they may not have access to savings. If you are a seasonal worker, and develop a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath, call 13HEALTH (13432584). COVID-19 testing and treatment is free even for those without access to Medicare or health insurance, including Temporary work visa holders. Temporary visa holders with no way to support themselves with urgent needs can access small, one-off emergency relief payments. Such funding aims to help with basic needs like food, medicine or shelter. 

Overstaying Visa in Perth Contact our Migration agent for help

Working holiday visa holders and Temporary work visa holders are at risk due to restrictions and a possible economic downturn. Some are at risk of breaching visa rules if their work conditions change. As such they will need to apply for bridging visas to avoid being in breach of conditions and becoming unlawful. The Department of Home Affairs released a special stream of visa, the COVID-19 Pandemic Temporary Activity (subclass 408) Visa. To be eligible for this visa, applicants must be unable to depart due to COVID-19 restrictions. Or required to stay behind to assist in critical sectors such as healthcare, disability and aged care, childcare and agriculture. 

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the immigration department was considering ‘tweaking’ the visa status of backpackers and Working holiday visa holders. State and territory governments are also providing practical and financial assistance to temporary visa holders. Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein announced a $3 million relief package for the state’s 26,000 temporary visa holders.

Travel Restrictions In Australia

Although Australia is gradually re-opening, travel and social distancing restrictions remain and vary with each state and territory. Here’s the state border status as at July 2020:

  • Australian Capital Territory – Partially open
  • New South Wales – Partially open
  • Northern Territory – Partially open
  • Queensland – Partially open
  • South Australia – Partially open
  • Tasmania – Closed to non-essential travel
  • Victoria – Open
  • Western Australia – Closed to non-essential travel

Some states, like Queensland, will not permit travellers from a COVID-19 hotspot. To enter Queensland, Working holiday visa holders and Temporary work visa holders will need to:

• Provide a completed Queensland Border Declaration Pass

• Commit to present for a COVID-19 test if they develop symptoms within 14 days of entering 

Providing false, misleading or incorrect information on a border declaration is an offence punishable by a fine or court-imposed penalty. There are no entry requirements, quarantine requirements and travel restrictions for remote communities in Queensland.

For Temporary Work Visa Holders Entering Western Australia 

Strict border controls are in place in Western Australia to limit the spread of COVID-19. Only an exempt traveller can enter WA. Anyone who believes they meet the criteria may apply for an exemption via G2G PASS. All people entering WA must bring their own masks. Restrictions apply to people travelling from Victoria and New South Wales. 

Working Holiday Visa Holders Entering South Australia 

Only Essential Travellers are allowed into SA from Victoria. Temporary work visa holders planning travel to South Australia, aim to complete the Cross Border Travel Registration beforehand. Travellers from NT, QLD, TAS and WA may enter South Australia without restriction. Travellers from ACT and NSW, other than essential travellers, will be required to:

– self-quarantine for 14 days on entering South Australia

– submit for COVID-19 testing on: the first day of entry and the twelfth day of arrival.

Contact your Joondalup Migration to arrange a local Interview

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