COVID-19: Your Visa Arrangement Has Changed

Important changes have been made to temporary visa holder arrangements during the coronavirus crisis that you need to be aware of.

The government has these several changes to support public health and to boost critical services in a time of need.

While full details are available on the Department of Home Affairs you’ll find an outline of the most relevant changes for you right here.

Temporary Skill Shortage Visas

If you have a Temporary Skill Shortage Visa and you been stood down, but not laid off, your visa validity remains in place and your employer can extend your visa as per normal arrangements.

Your employer may choose, instead, to reduce your working hours. This can be done without being in breach of your visa conditions or being in breach of your employer’s obligations.

If you are or have been laid off (that is, you become unemployed) you have the right to find another employer within 60 days of termination. If you wish to leave Australia, or you cannot find another employer to sponsor you within 60 days, you should make arrangements to depart Australia.

If you cannot return to your home country, you need to maintain a valid visa and engage with the health system when necessary.

Working Holiday Makers

If you are on an extended Working Holiday Visa or working under the Pacific Labour Scheme workers stream, and you are working in the “critical sectors” of health, aged and disability care, agriculture, food processing, and childcare, you are now exempt from the ruling which limits you to working with an employer for six months. You are also free to apply for a further visa to continue working in these sectors if your current visa is due to expire in the next six months.

If you are not eligible to apply for a further visa, you can apply for a Temporary Activity (subclass 408) Australian Government Endorsed Event (AGEE) stream visa.

A bridging visa will come into effect while your next visa is being processed. Your bridging visa will generally carry the same conditions as your previous visa.

Things to Note

  • You have the same rights under Australian workplace law as all other employees and your employer is still required to abide by all relevant Australian workplace laws. 
  • Whatever your visa status, please seek help from the Australian health system if you are sick.
  • If you are unable to support yourself, you should make arrangements to return home as quickly as possible.

Need help?

Further information is available on the Department of Home Affairs.

Contact the National Coronavirus Hotline: 1800 020 080