SUPPORT FOR TEMPORARY VISA HOLDERS AND MIGRANT WORKERS IN AUSTRALIA

04 April 2020

200404 - KENEALLY & GILES - SUPPORT FOR TEMPORARY VISA HOLDERS AND MIGRANT WORKERS IN AUSTRALIA

Monday, 6 April 2020
2:48 PM


SENATOR KRISTINA KENEALLY
DEPUTY LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
 
ANDREW GILES MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER ASSISTING FOR IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CITIES AND URBAN INFRASTRUCTURE

 
SUPPORT FOR TEMPORARY VISA HOLDERS AND MIGRANT WORKERS IN AUSTRALIA
 
After first writing to the Government on 20 March about the impact of coronavirus on temporary visa holders and migrant workers in Australia, Labor welcomes changes to the visa system announced today.
 
This includes sensible measures for backpackers working in Australia to extend their visas and flexibility for those on skilled temporary visas being faced with changes to their employment.
 
All temporary workers pay tax and contribute to the Australian economy – they are even helping fight coronavirus with 8,000 skilled medical professionals on temporary visas working on the frontline.
 
The Government has implemented Labor’s calls to relax the requirements for fully qualified nurses in Australia on working holiday maker (WHM) visas to be able to continue working in hospitals rather than being forced to meet visa requirements – such as completing “specified work” often picking fruit.
 
We support temporary visa holders having early access to their superannuation given the large number of people involved. This is a fair and equitable proposition in the absence of any other means for their support.
 
Whilst today’s announcements cover some temporary visa holders and migrant workers in Australia, it doesn’t cover them all. Labor will continue to suggest changes that need to be made in the national effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
 
Labor remains concerned for the hundreds of thousands of temporary visa holders in Australia who are trapped here, who can’t go home, and are being forced out of their accommodation.
 
A virus does not check a person’s visa status. It affects everyone in the community. It is a real risk to public health of all people in Australia if hundreds of thousands of people are forced into the streets with no work and no income.
 
The Government should also consider helping temporary visa holders to return to their home country where it is possible to do so.
 
Labor secured amendments in the Parliament that allow Social Services Minister Anne Ruston to extend the Special Benefits Payment to any visa holders who need help during this crisis. Today’s announcement does not include any extension of these payments to temporary visa holders.
 
Labor is committed to working constructively with the Government to do everything we can to protect Australian lives during this crisis.
 
SATURDAY, 4 APRIL 2020
 
MEDIA CONTACTS:         
TIMOTHY DUNLOP (KENEALLY) 0428 043 110
LACHLAN POULTER (GILES) 0423 937 655
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.
 
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