Economy Impact of COVID 19 – Temporary Visa Holders

It is nearly two weeks since the closure of Australian border on 19 March 2020 due to COVID 19 Pandemic. During these two weeks, besides its main health concern, the Australian government has faced many challenging issues domestically and internationally, especially those related to its economy. 

The rapid economic downturn is hitting companies hard and because of the uncertainty they face in the coming months, thousands of employees have been laid off especially in the hospitality and retail sectors. Some of the people worst affected are those who are in part-time or casual work, many of whom are foreigners on temporary visa such as student visa, work and holiday visa and temporary working visa

The temporary workforce is dominated by international students, working and holiday makers, and employer-sponsored visa holders, all of whom pay taxes. However, as yet, the Australian Government has not announced any measures to protect them in these uncertain circumstances. 

During the COVID 19 crisis, Australian government implemented total shutdown across businesses and public facilities, one of our clients who is on a work and holiday visa. The restaurant where he was working shutdown suddenly and still needs one more month’s work to comply with the requirements of his next visa. Now he is unable to move state nor find a new job and he’s confused about how to deal with his current situation, especially as he has no family in Australia who can support him. 

Australia also hosts 690,000 international students who pay tuition fees and spend money on living costs. They contributed $37.6 billion to the Australian economy in 2018 yet many international students are in limbo as they are unable to continue work or return home due to international travel restrictions or flight cancellations. Students are also experiencing fear that their health and safety might not be covered by their Australian insurance. 

Another client is an International student from India who has a casual job at a retail store who is worried about losing her job because so many casual and part-time workers have been sacked from work. She doubts whether she could support her study and live in Australia for more than a few weeks. She even tried to book a flight home to minimize her living costs because most of the units of her course are now delivered online but India’s borders are closed and she might face a visa issue in the future if she leaves now. 

The government is trying to be fair by allowing international students who work at certain supermarkets and aged care facilities to work more than 40 hours per fortnight, while some businesses in Australia are actively creating new jobs. For example, Services Australia said last week that it needed 5,000 new staff following days of long queues outside Centrelink offices, while Domino’s Pizza is also hiring 2,000 delivery experts to meet the increased home delivery demand in the coming months.  

As an education agent, we understand that this is an incredibly sad and stressful situation for so many people and we implore the Australian government to bring certainty to those on temporary visas as soon as possible. We are continuing to support those who are in need by remaining open using a remote-working model so there is no disruption to our service.  

We are also offering complimentary visa consultations for those affected by the coronavirus as a way to assist our community in this difficult time. These are normally priced at $150 and the offer is available until 10 April 2020 to anyone that needs advice on their visa situation. Consultations can be done by phone, Skype or Whatsapp. For further inquiry, please find us here.   

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I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.
if you wish to get help with your study and visa. Just book a call!