Tasmania leads the way with financial support for temporary visa holders
More than a month has passed since the COVID-19 pandemic really took hold in Australia, decimating the economy, causing massive job losses and creating severe financial hardship for the country’s population. As a migration agent, it’s been heartbreaking to see temporary visa holders not only struggling to support themselves but also being told to ‘go home’ by the Australian government.
Each day I get dozens of calls from clients that call Australia home, many of whom have lived in Australia for many years but for various reasons they don’t yet have permanent residency, literally in tears about how they are being treated at the moment.
As an immigrant myself, I feel their pain but it’s still so difficult to imagine what it must feel like: being told to go home, not be able go home even if you want to and being denied access to government financial support. What the Australian government has not seemed to realise is that temporary migrants have to house and feed themselves just like any other Australian.
And that’s why I applaud the steps taken by the Tasmanian government this week to different options to support temporary visa holders in Tasmania and I would urge other state governments to do the same, in particular my home state of Western Australia.
There are two main actions the Tasmanian government has decided to take:
- A one-off payment of $250 per adult and $150 per child (up to $1000 per family) where there is genuine financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Support to return to their home country if it’s requested by 23 May 2020.
This support is not available for all temporary visa holders, and it doesn’t include visitor visa holders. Importantly, it is available to all student subclass 500 visa holders especially those not able to access their superannuation accounts.
If you are a temporary visa holder in Tasmania suffering financial hardship at this difficult time, I’d urge you to check out this link to see if you are eligible and call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 as soon as possible to apply.
Take care and stay safe