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BREAKING NEWS: Coronavirus and Temporary Visa holders

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The Government is making a number of changes to temporary visa holder arrangements during the coronavirus crisis in order to protect the health and livelihoods of Australians, support critical industries, and assist with the rapid recovery post the virus.

There are 2.17 million people presently in Australia on a temporary visa.

All were welcomed to Australia on a temporary basis for different reasons including to fill skills shortages; to study as full fee-paying international students; to visit family and friends; or to work and holiday.

They are an important part of our economy and society. For example, there are over 8,000 skilled medical professionals on temporary visas supporting our health system right now.

While citizens, permanent residents and many New Zealanders have access to unconditional work rights and government payments (including the new JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments), temporary visa holders do not.

There has always been an expectation that temporary visa holders are able to support themselves while in Australia.  The changes announced today will help facilitate this for those who may be stood down or lose work hours as a result of the coronavirus.

In line with changes being made for Australian citizens and permanent residents, most temporary visa holders with work rights will now be able to access their Australian superannuation to help support themselves during this crisis.

Changes are also geared toward enabling temporary visa holders to remain in key industries, such as health, aged and disability care, agriculture and food processing.

Importantly, they can help boost front line health numbers, get food from farms to our shops and ensure critical services continue.

Temporary visa holders are extremely valuable to the Australian economy and way of life, but the reality is that many Australians will find themselves out of work due to the dual health and economic crisis we’re currently facing, and these Australians and permanent residents must be the Government’s number one focus.

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