Monday 1 June 2020 - Homestay Program for Stranded International Students in Australia
The Australian Homestay Network has launched the International Student Support Network (ISSN) to offer short-term homestay accommodation to financially vulnerable international students as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under this program, homestays are heavily discounted to $160/week. However some education providers have funding available to assist international students with accommodation expenses and may be able to cover the full cost of an ISSN homestay. State and territory governments also have individual support packages that may help cover the cost of housing.
If you are an international student experiencing financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic, contact your education provider for a referral to the ISSN program.
To find out what kind of financial support is available to international students in your state or territory, read more here.
As of today, there are 7,195 confirmed cases in Australia and 103 deaths.
Thursday 28 May 2020 - Australian Borders Unlikely to Open Anytime Soon
With the recent forecast of an 85% fall in net migration to 36,000 people in 2020-21, it is likely that this figure will continue to fall until the Australian borders reopen again. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that "our borders aren’t opening up anytime soon."
Australian and New Zealand continue to discuss the possibility of a trans-Tasman safe travel zone between the two countries. If the safe travel zone proceeds, applicants who are subject to a section 48 barring will be able to go offshore to New Zealand to lodge their Australian visa applications.
As of today, there are 7,139 confirmed cases and 103 deaths in Australia.
Wednesday 27 May 2020 - Pilots Support Return of International Students
The Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) have has come out in support of the Group of Eight universities' proposal of a framework to safely get international students back to commence or resume their studies. The framework proposal includes strict health check and quarantine requirements for all students arriving from overseas.
The AIPA are welcoming additional flights to bring international students back to Australia that will also provide work for pilots and cabin crew who have been stood down. The aviation sector has been significantly affected since the state and international border restrictions.
The approval of the Group of Eight's proposal will be a great start to getting international students back to Australia. If the framework proves to be successful, the same system may be extended to other universities and vocational colleges.
As of today, there are 7,133 confirmed cases in Australia and 102 deaths.
Monday 25 May 2020 - Universities' Proposal for the Return of International Students from Certain Countries
Following Health Minister Greg Hunt's call for universities to propose plans for the return of international students, the Group of Eight universities have suggested a "secure corridor" framework.
Under the proposed framework, only international students from countries deemed to have contained the virus will be allowed to return to Australia. These students will be subject to pre-travel isolation and health checks in their home country. Upon arrival to Australia, they are required to quarantine in self-funded accommodation.
The proposal is being considered by federal and state leaders and have not yet been approved.
Currently, the possible return of international students are considered in Step 3 of Australia's road to recovery.
As of today, there are 7,109 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 102 deaths in Australia.
Thursday 21 May 2020 - NSW Pushes to Get International Students Back Sooner
The national cabinet's guidelines for lifting restrictions may allow international students to return in stage 3, which is expected to occur in July.
The NSW government is pushing to lift border restrictions for international students to go back to regional universities earlier.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said that there is no reason the same quarantine system used on returning overseas travellers couldn't be used for international students.
Health Minister Greg Hunt is calling on universities to propose plans to safely bring international students back.
To date, there are 7,079 confirmed cases in Australia and the death toll is 100.
Tuesday 19 May 2020 - Calls for Increase of Partner Visa Grants Post-Coronavirus
The debate around Australia's post-coronavirus migration program continues, with a Labor MP Julian Hill calling for a large increase in the number of partner visas issued once the country reopens. There is an estimate backlog of 100,000 partner visa applications. These applicants already have established family networks in Australia to help them settle in once they arrive to live in Australia.
Clearing the backlog of genuine partner visa applications would allow these applicants to enter Australia once the border re-opens and contribute to the economy.
The federal government issued just under 40,000 partner visas in 2017-18 and 2018-19, down from 47,825 in 2016-17. While not making suggestions as to the amount of partner visas that should be granted, Mr Hill said that it should be "demand-driven" providing that the relationships are genuine.
As of today, there are 7,060 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Australia and 99 deaths.
Monday 18 May 2020 - Stranded Skilled Visa Holders Petition to Allow Re-Entry to Australia
Hundreds of skilled migrants have found themselves stranded overseas due to the Australian Government's border restrictions. Many happened to be overseas when the border closures were announced and could not make arrangements to come back in time.
Currently, only Australian citizens and permanent residents are allowed to return to Australia. While exemptions are available to temporary visa holders who have compassionate and compelling reasons to travel to Australia, many stranded migrants' requests have not been approved.
The Department of Home Affairs reported it had received more than 1,300 applications for special exemption for non-citizens or residents to travel to Australia and has approved 73 per cent of the requests.
Skilled visa holders stranded overseas have started a petition to Prime Minister Scott Morrison to allow them to return to Australia. If you are interested in signing the petition, click here.
As of today, there are 7,045 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Australia and 98 deaths.
Friday 15 May 2020 - When Can Temporary Visa Holders Enter Australia?
Initially there was a suggestion that the Australian borders may reopen at the end of 2020, however this timeline is expected to be extended for the foreseeable future. Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge has said that the government is yet to make a decision on when the borders would open to foreign nationals.
The only decision made in regards to the opening of borders to temporary visa holders is for international students in Step 3 of the 'Roadmap to a COVIDSafe Australia'. Step 3 is expected to occur by July 2020, meaning international students may enter Australia in as little as two months.
Australia is also likely to open its borders to New Zealand as part of a safe travel zone arrangement between the two countries in Step 3 of the Roadmap.
For other temporary visa holders, including tourists and work visa holders, the wait could be much longer.
To date, there are 6,989 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Australia and 98 deaths.
Thursday 14 May 2020 - Job Opportunities for Backpackers in South Australia
The impacts of COVID-19 has seen a drop in backpackers, and international and interstate travellers to regional South Australia.
A campaign to connect seasonal workers with jobs across the agricultural sector was recently launched by the State Government.
Backpackers wanting to extend their working holiday visas to a second year must complete 88 days of specified work. Farm work such as fruit picking, pruning and trimming vines and packing fruit and vegetables are considered specified work for a visa extension.
Backpackers can search for employment opportunities to fulfill the specified work requirement on the Seasonal Jobs SA website.
The website also features information to help employers and seasonal workers navigate working arrangements during COVID-19.
Visit https://www.seasonaljobs.sa.gov.au/ to browse the current job opportunities.
To date, there are 6,975 confirmed cases in Australia and 98 deaths.
Wednesday 13 May 2020 - Possible Early End to JobKeeper & JobSeeker Schemes
JobSeeker and JobKeeper
The Government's $130 billion JobKeeper scheme is helping more than 835,000 businesses and around 5.5 million workers stay afloat during the COVID-19 restrictions. The JobKeeper scheme pays a wage subsidy if $1,500 a fortnight for businesses to pay their employees.
The JobSeeker scheme was also doubled in response to the COVID-19. Those eligible for the benefit are paid an extra $550 Coronavirus supplement on top of their JobSeeker rate.
Currently, the following visa holders are able to access the JobKeeper and JobSeeker schemes:
- Permanent visa holder
- Protected special category visa holder
- Non-protected special category visa holder residing in Australia for 10 years or more continually
- New Zealander on subclass 444 visa
End of JobKeeper and JobSeeker
Both the stimulus programs are scheduled to run for six months, meaning the payments will be cut around the end of September. With many restrictions already being eased, some members of the Government are pushing for an early wind back of these programs.
Many experts are warning that an early rollback of the schemes could push the economy into recession. JP Morgan Australia chief economist Sally Auld recommended a more flexible approach to the stimulus programs in response to the gradual and slow process of restrictions being lifted. She said that these programs may need to taper into 2021 to avoid a sudden double-dip recession.
To date, there are 6,964 confirmed cases in Australia and 98 deaths.
Tuesday 12 May 2020 - Australian Migration Level Debate Post-Coronavirus
With the end of Coronavirus restrictions in sight, there has been much debate about Australia's migration levels once the travel bans are lifted. Labor's Home Affairs spokesperson Kristina Keneally has called for the number of temporary visa holders to be reduced when the borders re-open. In an article published in the Sun-Herald, Ms Keneally said that we must "make sure that Australians get a fair go and a first go at jobs" post-Coronavirus.
In the 2019-20 migration program, total places available for permanent visas were capped at 160,000. Temporary visas, on the other hand, are uncapped. As of June 2019, there were approximately 2.1 million temporary visa holders in Australia. Ms Keneally is calling for a reduction in temporary visa intake to allow for Australian workers to fill jobs post-pandemic.
On the other hand, Monash University's associate professor of human geography, Mr Alan Gamlen highlighted that many essential workers are migrant workers. He said that migration levels would need to stabilise at around the same rate as pre-Coronavirus in order for Australia to return to the same level of economic growth.
Previously, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that net overseas migration is expected to fall by 30% in 2019-2020 and 85% in 2020-2021 when compared to 2018-2019 figures.
Reduction in migration is already evident in the latest 11 April 2020 Skillselect invitation round, where only 50 invitations were issued for each subclasses 189 and 491 (family sponsored stream). Prior to the border closure, in the 13 March 2020 round, 1,750 and 300 invitations were made for subclasses 189 and 491 (family sponsored stream), respectively.
As of today, there are 6,948 confirmed cases in Australia and 97 deaths in total.
Friday 8 May 2020 - Three-Step Plan & Possibility of Border Re-Opening to International Students
Today Prime Minister Scott Morrison released a three-step plan to lift Coronavirus-related restrictions.
Step 1: will focus on carefully reopening the economy, and giving Australians opportunities to return to work and social activities, including gatherings of up to 10 people, up to 5 visitors in the family home and some local and regional travel
Step 2: builds on this with gatherings of up to 20, and more businesses reopening, including gyms, beauty services and entertainment venues like galleries and cinemas.
Step 3: will see a transition to COVID safe ways of living and working, with gatherings of up to 100 people permitted. International travel and mass gatherings over 100 people will remain restricted.
States and territories can implement these changes based on their local conditions.
Possibility of Lifting Border Restrictions for International Students
During a press conference earlier today, PM Scott Morrison stated that he cannot see the possibility of international travel happening anytime soon. However, he alluded to the possibility of opening the borders to international students in Step 3 of the three-step plan.
While a timeline has not been announced, the PM aims to move through all three stages by July 2020.
As of today, there are 6,896 confirmed cases in Australia, an increase of 22 cases since yesterday. The death toll is 97.
Wednesday 6 May 2020 - Travel Safe Zone Between Australia & New Zealand and What it Means for s 48 Barred Applicants
Australia & New Zealand Travel Safe Zone
Yesterday the National Cabinet met with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to discuss the possibility of easing travel restrictions between Australia and New Zealand. This COVID-19 safe travel zone will assist both countries' economic recovery, help kick-start tourism and transport sectors, enhance existing sporting links and reunite families and friends.
Section 48 Barred Applicants
The opening of borders between Australia and New Zealand will be welcomed by visa applicants who have had a visa cancelled or refused in Australia and are section 48 barred from applying for another visa while in Australia. Travel restrictions brought on by the Coronavirus have prevented section 48 barred applicants from going offshore to lodge their visa applications.
If the COVID-19 safe travel zone is implemented, these applicants may potentially go to New Zealand to lodge their visa applications. Some of these applicants may have time-sensitive applications to meet their state nomination deadlines to submit a visa application to the Department of Home Affairs.
The National Cabinet will meet again on Friday 8 May 2020.
As of today, there are 6,849* confirmed cases in Australia, an increase of 25 since yesterday. The death toll is at 96.
*NSW have revised their number of cases since yesterday’s update. Whilst there was an increase in the last 24 hours of 3 cases in NSW, there was one previously reported case that has subsequently been excluded after further testing. This has resulted in a cumulative increase of 2 cases as part of the NSW figures, and has affected the calculated difference from the previously reported national ‘total’ figure of 6,825.
Tuesday 5 May 2020 - Australian Government Expects Huge Decrease in Australia's Migration Intake
Following the National Cabinet meeting on Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that net overseas migration is expected to fall by 30% in 2019-2020 and 85% in 2020-2021 when compared to 2018-2019 figures.
Australia's net overseas migration in the 2018-2019 financial year was 239,600. The Australian Government's predictions of an 85% fall in 2021-2022 may bring in just under 36,000 migrants to Australia.
Australia's international education market injects approximately $39 billion a year into the economy. If net overseas migration do take a significant fall, Australia's economy will struggle to recover post-Coronavirus.
As of 6 am today, there are 6,825 confirmed cases in Australia and a total of 95 deaths.
Sunday 3 May 2020 – Updates on Measures for some International Students, SHEV holders and the AAT review process
Today we have news on the following main topics:
- International Student visa holders, hardship and measures to help
- Special Benefit for Temporary Protection Visa and Safe Haven Enterprise Visa holders (SHEV)
- AAT announces new procedures to adapt to Covid-19
Australian Student visa holders and the Covid Pandemic
Tasmania Leads the way in offering compassionate support to international student’s experiencing hardship:
Premier Peter Gutwein says, as reported in the Examiner online paper:
"Many of these visa holders cannot return to their home countries because of border closures," he said.
"They are a part of our community. When I was working through this package ... and thinking about some of the challenges our temporary visa holders face at the moment, I spared a thought [for] if my children at the moment were in a country on the other side of the world and one, either they couldn't get home, or two, they were in a position with no financial support.
"I think it's only fair and reasonable, that for those who contributed to our society, we provide some support in their hour of need."
Examiner Journalist Frances Vinall makes the following point:
"New Zealand, the UK, Canada and Ireland have all included international students in their Covid-19 welfare measures; Australia joins the US, Singapore, Japan and Malaysia in excluding them."
Griffith University has released a FAQ under Covid Updates:
Q – Can I get an extension to the deadline for an assessment task?
A- The maximum extension of time for an assessment task (that is not an exam) has been increased and compassionate circumstances has been broadened to allow extensions to students who have been impacted by COVID-19, including difficulties with accessing online resources, or submitting assignments online. If you experience difficulties in obtaining a medical certificate to support a deferred assessment or a special consideration application, please discuss your individual circumstances with your course convenor.
Q- Is there any financial support available?
A - Financial support International Students: Griffith College recognises that many international students have been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and require financial assistance. A limited number of Hardship (COVID-19) Grants are now available to support eligible individual international students short-term and are aimed at providing temporary relief for unforeseen circumstances. Approved students are eligible for one (1) Hardship (COVID-19) Grant. Further information about the application process will be provided in the coming days.
Q- Can I fly home and continue my studies online?
A - Under certain circumstances this may be permitted once you have had an interview with an Advisor.
However, we want you to stay! By staying in Australia and continuing your study online, it means that once the pandemic threat passes, you will be ready to come back to classes.
Special Benefit for Temporary Protection Visa and Safe Haven Enterprise Visa holders
There are special benefits for those experiencing financial hardship.
If eligible - it’s usually the same as JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance. Please see the link below.
If you have an ongoing appeal - AAT announces new procedures to adapt to Covid-19:
The new measures include:
- The AAT’s Registries are closed to visitors, except in exceptional circumstances. We will provide registry services by telephone and electronically…
- To minimise the need for handling hard copy documents or other things, a document,CD, USB or other thing must only be sent to the AAT by post if the information cannotbe sent electronically.
- Documents may now be signed electronically.
- Priorities for processing cases including those involving detension, validity of the application, compelling and compassionate circumstance and cases which could be decided in the applicant’s favour on the papers.
Thursday 30 April 2020 - Work Hour Relaxation for Students Working in Supermarkets Ending Soon
On 7 March 2020, the Australian Government allowed a temporary relaxation of work hours for international students working in supermarkets to help keep shelves stocked of essential items. This temporary relaxation for students working in supermarkets will cease from tomorrow 1 May 2020. After tomorrow, international students with jobs in supermarkets are to return to the normal 40 hour per fortnight limitation.
If you are an international student suffering from financial hardship due to the Coronavirus pandemic, there is help available. To find out what kind of assistance you may be eligible for, visit our article here.
As of 6am today, there are 6,746 confirmed cases in Australia, an increase of 8 new cases from yesterday. So far, there have been 90 deaths.
Wednesday 29 April 2020 - Coronavirus Impact on Visa Applications & Australian Immigration Rate
COVID-19 Impact on Immigration Rate
In an interview with SBS, Acting Federal Minister for Immigration Alan Tudge acknowledged that immigration rates will be lower this year compared to previous years. This is a direct result of the Coronavirus and Australia's border closures.
While Mr Tudge said it is too early to ascertain the long term impact of the Coronavirus on Australia's immigration policies, significantly lower immigration rates are already apparent. In the latest 11 April 2020 Skillselect invitation round, only 50 invitations were issued for each subclasses 189 and 491 (family sponsored stream).
This is a huge decrease from the last round in 13 March 2020 before the border closure, where 1,750 and 300 invitations were made for subclasses 189 and 491 (family sponsored stream), respectively.
COVID-19 Impact on Visa Applications
Mr Tudge also commented on the impacts of Coronavirus on offshore visa applicants:
"If you’re overseas and you’re applying for a visa, then I can say that it is being interrupted because of coronavirus, often because things like the English language testing providers or the health testing providers in most destination countries are shut down."
Despite the disruption to offshore applications, Mr Tudge added that the impacts are irrelevant to offshore applicants as they would not be able to come into Australia due to the border closure.
To date, there are 6,738 confirmed cases in Australia with 13 new cases confirmed since 6am yesterday. The death toll is now 88.
Monday 27 April 2020 - Government Releases COVIDSafe App
Yesterday the Australian Government launched COVIDSafe, a voluntary app used to identify people who have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with Coronavirus.The app's purpose is to quickly identify and quarantine anyone who may be at risk of contracting and spreading the virus.
Minister for Health, Greg Hunt urged all Australians to download the COVIDSafe app to help enhance the ability to respond rapidly to local outbreaks.
How It Works
The COVIDSafe app uses Bluetooth to look for other phones that also have the app installed. The app then notes the date and time, distance and duration of the contact with another app user. If a person who has been diagnosed with Coronavirus agrees and uploads the data, public health officials will have access to contact information of people who:
- have been within 1.5 metres of the diagnosed person
- for 15 minutes or more
As of 6am today, there are 6,713 confirmed cases with an increase of 10 since yesterday.
Sunday 26 April 2020 – Support for International Students experiencing financial hardship related to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic
Some Australian Educational Institutions are offering support for International Students experiencing hardship as a result of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic:
If your are experiencing hardship, we recommend that you contact the counselling or administration sections of your education provider, to ask them if they are providing assistance.
Study NSW is encouraging student to do the following:
“Students’ first point of call should be their institution, but there are other service providers that can help as well. These include local and national non-government organisations and community services. Students should also contact their Embassy or local Consular Office to see if help is available there.”
For example, this is what the Federation University (Coronavirus Special Assistance Scheme - Ballarat, Berwick, Brisbane, Gippsland, ODL) is currently offering:
“Assistance may include:
- Weekly assistance of up to $300 each (for up to five weeks)
- Funding for computer and/or technology assistance for students who are unable to study remotely
- FedLiving accommodation assistance
- Student Tuition Fee due-date extensions”
In South Australia, 10 million in SA government grants for student experience hardshp will be distributed by the the University of Adelaide, Flinders University and the University of South Australia:
Friday 24 April 2020 - Further Expansion to Student Visa Work Conditions
Following last month's announcement that international students working as nurses, in supermarkets and in aged care service providers would be exempt from the 40-hour per fortnight work condition, the same exemptions have been extended to:
- students studying relevant medical courses, if they are working in support of Coronavirus health efforts as directed by health officials
- students currently working for registered National Disability Insurance Scheme providers
This announcement was made on 23 April 2020 by Alan Tudge MP.
The exemption expansion lines up with the Prime Minister's announcement this week that elective surgery restrictions will be eased from 27 April 2020.
International students working in supermarkets are reminded that the temporary relaxation of their 40 hour work limit will end from 1 May 2020.
As of 6am today, there have been 13 new confirmed cases, bringing Australia's total number of confirmed cases to 6,667. The death toll is now 76.
Thursday 23 April 2020 - Financial Support for Temporary Visa Holders & International Students
Tasmania's $3 million Package
On 22 April 2020 the Tasmanian Government unveiled a $3 million package to support 26,000 temporary visa holders affected by the Coronvirus pandemic in Tasmania. These visa holders include students, fruit pickers and skilled workers.
The package is to be rolled out in four stages:
- One-off payment of $250 for individuals and up to $1,000 for families who are experiencing immediate financial hardship as a result of the Coronavirus
- Emergency relief funds to non-governmental organisations that assist temporary visa holders
- Financial support and travel advice for temporary visa holders who can return to their home country
- Help employers retain their temporary visa holding employees
Visa holders wishing to access the assistance grants or are wanting to return to their home country should call the Public Hotline on 1800 671 738
Other State Government Support for International Students - SA, VIC, ACT, NT
State and Territory Governments in South Australia, Victoria, Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory have previously announced similar support for their international students that are affected by the Coronavirus.
If you are an international student living in these states and territories and are facing financial hardship due to the Coronavirus, find out how to apply here.South Australia
The South Australian Government has announced a new $13.8 million International Student Support Package for South Australian-based international students, including university, VET and school students.
The Victorian Government is creating job opportunities for international students through its $500 million Working for Victoria program. In addition, the state government is facilitating online training to enhance skills as part of the program.
On 3 April 2020, the Northern Territory Government announced the Worker and Wellbeing Fund to support international students who have lost their jobs or have had their income reduced due to Coronavirus restrictions.
Australian Capital Territory
On 20 April 2020, the ACT announced a $20 million Jobs for Canberrans fund to provide employment opportunities with the ACT Public Service.
As of 6am today, there have been 6,654 confirmed cases in Australia with 7 new cases confirmed since yesterday. The death toll remains at 74.
Wednesday 22 April 2020 - International Students and Backpackers Face Discrimination & Refugee in Detention Challenges Australian Government
Discrimination Against International Students and Backpackers
Thousands of international students and backpackers are left stranded in Australia in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic. Most have lost their jobs and are now unable to financially support themselves. While the job losses and reduced financial capacity has been a massive blow to these visa holders, the repeated and public incidents, of abuse linked to unfounded fears that they will spread the Coronavirus, is far worst.
“When I was on the train and I was wearing a mask for precaution, a man shouted at me telling me I’m an idiot and stupid and because I’m Asian I brought the virus into this country. He said he wanted to hit me. I felt so hopeless, I just bowed my head and got off the train.” - Alexis (not real name), an international student from the Philippines
"In the past few nights there has been people driving past screaming 'go home', and then a few nights ago people threw some stones onto us." - Roan Hodgson, a British backpacker
Comments from Chris Johnston, Work Visa Lawyers' Principal Lawyer & Registered Migration Agent
The recent rise in discrimintation towards temporary visa holders, particularly international students and backpackers, is unacceptable. These temporary visa holders are an important part of our community and have made significant contributions to our economy. While the Coronavirus impacts have created challenges within society, it is imperative that we remain dignified in how we treat each other, regardless of visa status.
If you are an international student facing financial hardship due to the Coronavirus impacts, financial support and job opportunities are available through the state governments and your education provider. Find out more information here.
If you are a temporary visa holder, find out how the Coronavirus impacts you here.
Detained Refugee Launches Court Challenge Against Australian Government
An unnamed refugee is launching a court challenge against the Federal Government for breach of duty of care to provide safe living conditions amid the Coronavirus pandemic. Detainees are currently eating in crowded food halls, sharing bathrooms and sleeping in rooms with up to six people.
The government have a duty of care towards detainees who are under their care. Advocates are calling for detainees to be transferred to alternative accommodation where social distancing can be practised.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has, so far, been silent on this issue.
As of 6am today, there are 6,647 confirmed cases in Australia and 74 deaths.
Tuesday 21 April 2020 - Travel Ban Exceptions & Australia Considers Lifting Restrictions
Travel Exemptions for Temporary Visa Holders
The current travel bans only allow Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members to enter Australia. However, temporary visa holders who have a compassionate and compelling reason to travel to Australia urgently can apply for exemptions. The Australian Border Force Commissioner will assess the applications on a case-by-case basis to determine whether a compassionate and compelling reason exists to grant the exemption.
How to Apply
Travellers need to apply for and be granted the exemption before boarding a flight to Australia.
Exemption applications can be made via the online form with supporting evidence. There is no processing time for the application but the Department of Home Affairs will not respond to applications that have been determined not to meet compassionate and compelling reasons.
Australia Considers Lifting Restrictions
As of 6am today, only 13 new cases of Coronavirus has been confirmed across the nation, bringing Australia's total confirmed cases to 6,625.
In light of the curve flattening, National Cabinet will meet today to consider the pre-requisites to begin lifting Coronavirus restrictions.
Monday 20 April 2020 - Unlawful in Australia During Coronavirus Pandemic
Two years ago, the Federal government estimated that there were more than 64,000 illegal migrants in Australia. This number is likely to be higher today.
Being unlawful in Australia comes with many challenges, including lack of access to welfare payments and healthcare under Medicare. Many unlawful migrants are avoiding access to healthcare in fear of being asked about their visa status.
Petition and Fundraiser
Advocacy groups Undocumented Migrants Solidarity and Anticolonial Asian Alliance have organised a petition and fundraiser to support undocumented migrants. They are advocating for unlawful migrants to be able to access welfare payments, access to healthcare regardless of their visa status and for the Government to cease deportation and detention activities during the pandemic.
If you are interested in donating or signing the petition, the links are:-
Coronavirus Treatment Cost Waived
So far, Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia have temporarily waived the cost of treatment for Coronavirus for non-citizens with no health insurance.
Last week, acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge urged anyone who is unlawful to come forward as soon as possible.
Sunday 19 April, 2020 – Australians stranded overseas and temporary visa holders facing destitution in Australia
There are increasing articles and advocacy in relation to concerns in relation to the Government messages for Tempory Visa holders, from 4 April 2020.
Our concerns at Work Visa Lawyers include the following:
- Student Visa holders leaving Australia will destroy the students study plans and lead to Australian job losses in Australian Education – High School, Vocational and Universities.
- Temporary visa holders are becoming destitute with limited ability to support themselves and with the Red Cross likely to be overrun with demand.
- Longer term provisional visa holders including Partner 820 visa holders and 489 Skilled Regional provisional are treated the same as visitor visa holders.
We commend the NT and Victoria for announcing support packages for temporary visa holders:
The NT announcement from the NT News:
Here are some articles, raising concerns:
- Australian’s continue to be stranded overseas with slow or no response from the Australian Government, while other countries do much more to support their Citizens:
- Student Visa holders heartbroken by the go home comment:
- Title: More than 300,000 people leave Australia Coronavirus population exodus:
“Mr Rizvi has estimated at least one in five foreign students, and one quarter of all foreign workers, will return to their home countries by year's end.”
Sign the Petition to extend the Job Keeper package to visa holders.
Friday 17 April 2020 - Healthcare for Temporary Visa Holders
Many people are becoming more health-conscious as the threat of the Coronavirus increases day-by-day. Many temporary visa holders have condition 8501 imposed on their visa, requiring them to maintain adequate health insurance.
Temporary Visas Holders Eligible for Medicare
Other temporary visa categories are eligible for Medicare. If you hold one of the following visa subclasses, you can enrol for Medicare:
- Skilled Work Regional Provisional visa (subclass 491)
- Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional Provisional visa (subclass 494)
- De facto partners of Australian citizens or permanent residents
- Contributory Parent visas (subclasses 173, 143, 884, 864)
- Witness Protection (Trafficking) Temporary visa (subclass 787)
- Support for Victims of People Trafficking Program
- Temporary Humanitarian Concern visa (subclass 786)
- Temporary Protection visa (subclass 785)
- Removal Pending Bridging visa (subclass 070)
- Illegal maritime arrivals holding a Bridging E (Class WE) visa
- Illegal maritime arrivals holding a Humanitarian Stay visa (subclass 449)
- Secondary Movement Offshore Entry visa XB (subclass 447)
- Safe Haven Enterprise visa (subclass 790)
Reciprocal Health Care Agreements
Additionally, Australia has reciprocal health care agreements with 11 countries that allows citizens from those countries to access medical care under Medicare while in Australia. If you are from the following countries, you may be eligible:
- Malta or the Maltese Islands
- the Netherlands
- New Zealand
- Republic of Ireland
- United Kingdom
Wednesday 15 April 2020 - Schools Remain Open, 6 Criteria to Lift Lockdown
Schools Open for Term 2
With Term 2 approaching in many states and territories, Education Minister Dan Tehan has urged schools to re-open to allow students who do not have access to resources at home or parents to supervise them for home schooling.
"The clear message is for all those parents who are working, and they can't look after their children safely at home, schools are open and your students can attend school. For all those vulnerable children, school's open and you can attend school."
Six WHO Criteria to Lift Lockdown
As countries begin to consider lifting restrictions, the WHO has released six criteria to be considered:
- Transmission is controlled
- Health systems have the ability to quickly detect, test, isolate and treat new cases as well as to trace close contacts
- Outbreaks are "minimised" in some settings, like health facilities and retirement villages
- Preventative measures are put into place in workplaces, schools and shops
- Importation risks are managed
- Communities are educated, engaged and empowered to adjust to a "new norm".
The WHO warned that any decisions made to lift restrictions should be "based first and foremost on protecting human health."
Tuesday 14 April 2020 - Help for Temporary Visa Holders
On 11 April 2020, Red Cross announced that the Government will provide funding for emergency relief and casework support for temporary visa holders for the next six months.
You may be eligible for support from Red Cross if you:
- are in Australia on a temporary visa
- are in urgent financial hardship
- cannot access Centrelink, Medicare or similar services
- have no income, savings or other financial support (including from family overseas)
Priority will be given to:
- people with urgent needs, such as families with young children
- people with a disasbility
- people who are experiencing harm
- people who are vulnerable to COVID-19
- people with physical or mental health issues
How to Apply
You can request for help by contacting Red Cross through email or phone:
Phone: 1800 733 276
Monday 13 April 2020 - Australia's Curve Flattens and Predictions for Future International Travel
Curve Flattens Over Easter
Over the Easter long weekend, only 33 new cases of Coronavirus were confirmed in Australia. While the curve seems to be flattening, Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy advised that the downturn in diagnoses could be due to the decrease of testing over the public holiday.
Professor Murphy warns that it is still too early to relax social distancing rules as Coronavirus is still being transmitted in the community.
The Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment predicts that Australians may not be able to travel overseas until 2021. While there are no end dates confirmed for the travel restrictions, Senator Birmingham urges anyone with international holiday plans in December to reconsider their plans.
Travellers are urged to “see Australia first” as domestic travel restrictions are predicted to ease in the coming months if the spread of the virus slows down.
To date, Australia has 6,322 confirmed cases and 61 deaths from Coronavirus.
Sunday 12 April, 2020 - Uni Boost for local student not Intenational Students and Negative Impacts of Loss of Temporary Visa holders
Local students first – Relief package for local students:
A higher education relief package will be announced today by Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan.
The focus will be on short courses for local (Australain Citizen or PR) students.
The package will include:
- · funding for new short courses for the unemployed
- · a guaranteed $18 billion for domestic students regardless of enrolment numbers
- · $100 million in regulatory relief for education providers.
Mr Tehan echoed the Prime Minister's message that the Government needs to focus on its own citizens.
"This is unashamedly focused on domestic students. We're going to need our university sector, we're going to need our broader tertiary sector to retrain and reskill Australians to help us emerge from the pandemic even stronger," Mr Tehan said.
Demographer Dr Allen fears the loss of migrant workers will have a devastating effect on Australia
“We will rely on their labour post coronavirus to rebuild.”
Friday 10 April, 2020 - Prime Minister urges all Australians to stay home this Easter break
In Today's Easter message Prime Minister Scott Morrison reiterated the stay at home message. Dispite yesterday having the lowest rise in infections in almost a month, with just 96 new cases. Morrison stressed the need to continue with social distancing measures so that we don't see a reverse in this trend.
Australia 6,152 confirmed cases and 52 deaths:
2,822 in New South Wales
1,228 in Victoria
953 in Queensland
495 in Western Australia
421 in South Australia
100 in ACT
106 in Tasmania
27 in Northern Territory
Updated statistics via World Health Organisation Situation Dashboard April 10, 2020:
Globally estimated at 1,439,516 confirmed cases and 85,711deaths, 206 countries and territories with cases, 712 associated with Diamond Princess Cruise Ship
- United States 468,566 confirmed cases and 16,691 deaths
- Spain 153,222 confirmed cases and 15,447 deaths
- Italy 143,626 confirmed cases and 7,505 deaths
- Germany 118,235 onfirmed cases and 2,607deaths
- France 117, 499 confirmed cases and ,210 deaths
- 13 March 2020
- 16 March, 2020
- 19 March, 2020
- 20 March, 2020
- 25 March, 2020
- 27 March, 2020
- 30 March, 2020
- 1 April, 2020
- 2 April, 2020
- 3 April, 2020
- 4 April, 2020
- 12 March 2020
- 11 March 2020
- 6 March 2020
- 4 March 2020
- 2 March 2020
- 26 Feb 2020 UPDATE 2
- 26 Feb 2020 UPDATE 1
- 24 Feb 2020
- 21 Feb 2020 UPDATE 2
- 21 Feb 2020 UPDATE 1
- 21 Feb 2020
- 19 Feb 2020
- 12 Feb 2020
- 6 Feb 2020
- 5 Feb 2020
- 4 Feb 2020
- 3 Feb 2020
- 1 Feb 2020
Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has announced that temporary visa holders can now access their Australian superannuation to support themselves during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Temporary visa holders who are unable to financially support themselves over the next six months are encouraged to return to their home country. The Prime Minister made the following recommendations for the different temporary visa subclasses:
Visitor Visa Holders
Tourists are being encouraged to return home as soon as possible.
Student Visa Holders
Students are being encouraged to rely on family support, their own savings and income from their part-time jobs. Students working as nurses and in aged care are able to work more than 40 hours per fortnight. Students employed in supermarkets can also work more than 40 hours per fortnight until 1 May.
Students who have been in Australia for more than 1 year can access their Australian superannuation if they need financial support.
The Department of Home Affairs will take a flexible approach in dealing with students who were unable to meet their visa conditions as a result of the Coronavirus.
Temporary Skilled Visa Holders
Temporary visa holders who have been stood down, not laid off, will be able to keep their visa and their employers can choose to extend their visa as per normal arrangements. Their working hours can also be reduced without breaching visa conditions.
These visa holders can access up to $10,000 of their superannuation this financial year.
Temporary visa holders who have been laid off due to the Coronavirus should return to their country if they are unable to secure a new sponsor. A 4-year visa holder who is re-employed can count time already spent in Australia towards the work experience requirements for a permanent residency application.
Working Holiday Makers
Backpackers working in health, aged and disability care, agriculture and food processing and child care will be able to work for the one employer for more than 6 months. They will be eligible for a second or third visa to keep working in these sectors if their visa is due to expire in the next 6 months.
Graduate Visa Holders
Graduates will be able to access their Australia superannuation if needed.
Subclass 444 Visa Holders
New Zealanders holding subclass 444 visas and arrived in Australia before 26 February 2001 will have access to JobSeeker and JobKeeper payments.
New Zealanders holding subclass 444 visas and arrived in Australia after 2001 have access to the JobKeeper payment. If they have lived in Australia for 10 years or more, they are eligible for the JobSeeker payment.
Churches and places of worship can live stream services to the community. Venues are to remain closed to the public and services are to be carried out by essential staff only, which may include a priest, attendants, organist, videographer and sound recordist.
Australians are being encouraged to stay home over the Easter holidays.
The National Cabinet have agreed to develop a mandatory code of conduct for commercial tenancies for small or medium enterprises.
The proposed principles of the code are:
Where it can, rent should continue to be paid, and where there is financial distress as a result of COVID-19 (for example, the tenant is eligible for assistance through the JobKeeper program), tenants and landlords should negotiate a mutually agreed outcome
There will be a proportionality to rent reductions based on the decline in turnover to ensure that the burden is shared between landlords and tenants
There will be a prohibition on termination of leases for non-payment of rent (lockouts and eviction)
There will be a freeze on rent increases (except for turnover leases)
There will be a prohibition on penalties for tenants who stop trading or reduce opening hours
There will be a prohibition on landlords passing land tax to tenants (if not already legislated)
There will be a prohibition on landlords charging interest on unpaid rent
There will be a prohibition on landlords from making a claim to a bank guarantee or security deposit for non-payment of rent
Ensure that any legislative barriers or administrative hurdles to lease extensions are removed (so that a tenant and landlord could agree a rent waiver in return for a lease extension)
The proposed code of conduct will be discussed by the National Cabinet on 7 April.
Today Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced plans for free childcare for over one million families. Under the plan, the government will provide funding to the early childhood education and care sector to provide care to families free of charge. The plan aims to keep educators and carers employed and also support parents working in essential services.
The payments will be paid in lieu of the Child Care (CCS) and Additional Child Care Subsidy payments.
This plan comes into effect from Monday 6 April 2020. Payments will be made automatically to early childhood education and child care services from this date.
In the meantime, early childhood education and child care services can waive gap fees for families from now up to 5 April 2020.
As of 6am on 2 April, there are 4,976 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Australia. Of this number, 21 people have died as a result of the virus.
Confirmed Cases in Australian States and Territory as of 2 April:
Globally, there have been over 827,419 confirmed cases and 40,777 deaths.
As of 6am on 1 April, there are 4,707 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Australia. Of this number, 20 people have died as a result of the virus.
Confirmed Cases in Australian States and Territory as of 1 April:
Globally, there have been over 754,948 confirmed cases and 36,571 deaths.
The government has introduced the JobKeeper Payment to subsidize salaries for employees impacted by the Coronavirus. Under this program, the government will provide $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee for businesses to pay their employees.
Employers (including self-employed and non-for-profits) will be eligible if:
- their business turnover had reduced by more than 30% compared to a year ago (for businessed with turnover less than $1 billion)
- their business turnover had reduced by more than 50% compared to a year ago (for businessed with turnover more than $1 billion)
- the business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy
The employee must have been on the employer's book on 1 March 2020 as:
- a full time employee
- a part time employee
- a long-term casual employee who has been employed for at least 12 months
- a stood down employee
To be eligible, the employee must be:
- an Australian citizen or;
- a permanent visa holder or;
- a protected Special Category visa holder or;
- a non-protected Special Category visa holder who has continually resided in Australia for at least 10 years or;
- a New Zealand citizen who holds a Special Category (subclass 444) visa.
Eligible Visas Explained
Permanent visa: for those who were granted a permanent visa that allows them to remain in Australia indefinitely.
Protected Special Category visa: for New Zealand citizens who live in Australia and were either:
- in Australia on 26 February 2001 or;
- in Australia for 12 months in the 2 years immediately before 26 February 2001 or;
- assessed as a protected SCV holder before 26 February 2004.
Non-protected Special Category visa: for New Zealand citizens who arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001 and has continued to live in Australia for at least 10 years.
Special Category visa: for New Zealand citizens who hold a subclass 444 visa
Additionally employees who are re-engaged by the business that was their employer as of 1 March 2020 will also be eligible.
The ATO will pay $1,500, before tax, to the employer who will pass the payment to eligible employees. The employer may top-up this payment if the employee ordinarily earns more income. Employees who ordinarily earns less will still receive the full amount of $1,500 before tax.
The subsidy program comes into effect on 30 March 2020.
Friday March 27, 2020 - Government waives waiting period for newly arrived residents for Coronavirus Supplement
In an update today, the federal government announced that the Newly Arrived Residents Waiting Period (NARWP) will be temporarily waived for recipients eligible for the Coronavirus supplement. When the Coronavirus supplement ceases, those people that were serving a NARWP will continue to serve the remainder of their waiting period, though the time the person was receiving the Coronavirus supplement will count towards their NARWP. Residency requirements still apply. For more information visit : https://www.business.gov.au/risk-management/emergency-management/coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business/increased-and-accelerated-income-support
Updated statistics via World Health Organisation Situation Dashboard March 25, 2020:
Globally estimated at 465,915 confirmed cases and 21,031 deaths, 199 countries and territories with cases, 712 associated with Diamond Princess Cruise Ship
Mainland China 81,961 cases and 3,293 deaths
Italy 74,386 confirmed cases and 7,505 deaths
United States 63,570 confirmed cases and 884 deaths
Spain 47,610 confirmed cases and 3,434 deaths
Germany 36,508 confirmed cases and 198 deaths
Iran 29,406 confirmed cases and 2,234 deaths
France 24,920 confirmed cases and 1,331 deaths
Australia 3,166 confirmed cases and 13 deaths:
1,405 in New South Wales
574 in Victoria
555 in Queensland
255 in Western Australia
257 in South Australia
62 in ACT
46 in Tasmania
12 in Northern Territory
From midnight tonight the following activities and businesses will no longer be allowed to continue:
- Amusement parks and arcades
- Indoor and outdoor play centres
- Community and recreation centres, health clubs, fitness centres, yoga, barre, spin facilities, saunas, wellness centres
- Public swimming pools
- Galleries, museums, national institutions, historic sites, libraries, community centres
- Auction houses
- Real estate auctions and open house inspections
- In-store beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons and tattoo parlours, spa and massage parlours (excluding allied-health-related services, such as physiotherapy)
- Food courts within shopping centres will only be able to sell takeaway. Shopping centres themselves will remain open
Restrictions on specific activities:
- Weddings can continue, but only with the couple, the celebrant, and witnesses totalling a maximum of five people
- Funerals are limited to a maximum of 10 people
- Outdoor and indoor food markets will be addressed by individual states and territories
- Personal training and boot camps are limited to a maximum of 10 people
- Hairdressers and barber shops can continue, but a customer must not be on the premises longer than 30 minutes
Updated statistics via World Health Organisation Situation Dashboard March 25, 2020:
Globally estimated at 375,498 confirmed cases and 16,362 deaths, 195 countries and territories with cases, 712 associated with Diamond Princess Cruise Ship
Mainland China 81,767 cases and 3,242 deaths
Italy 63,927 confirmed cases and 2,976 deaths
United States 42,164 confirmed cases and
Spain 33.089 confirmed cases, 598 deaths
Germany 29,212 confirmed cases, 13 deaths
Iran 24,811 confirmed cases and 1,135 deaths
France 19,615 confirmed cases, 175 deaths
South Korea 9,037 confirmed cases, 84 deaths
Australia 2,318 confirmed cases and 8 deaths:
1,029 in New South Wales
466 in Victoria
443 in Queensland
175 in Western Australia
170 in South Australia
44 in ACT
26 in Tasmania
5 in Northern Territory
Friday March 20, 2020 - Travel Ban for Non-Residents, Guideline for Aged Care Facilities, Citizenship Ceremonies Cancelled
Travel Ban Starts Today
Starting from 9:00pm AEDT today, all non-residents and non-citizens will not be allowed to enter Australia. Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members will not be affected by the travel ban but will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon returning in Australia.
Guidelines for Aged Care Facilities
Visiting restrictions have been put in place to protect residents and workers in aged care facilities, who are among some of the most vulnerable to the Coronavirus. The following restrictions have been imposed:
- Visits will be limited to a short duration.
- Visits will be limited to a maximum of two visitors at a time. These may be immediate social supports (family members, close friends) or professional service or advocacy.
- Visits by children 16 years and under are not permitted except in special circumstances, as they are generally unable to comply with hygiene measures. Exemptions can be assessed on a case-by-case basis, for example, where the resident is in palliative care.
- Visits will be conducted in a resident’s room, outdoors, or in a specific area designated by the facility, rather than communal areas where the risk of transmission to residents is greater.
- No large group visits or gatherings, including social activities or entertainment, will be permitted.
- No school groups of any size are allowed to visit.
Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Cancelled
Following the Australian Government's advice against public gatherings, a majority of Australian Citizenship Ceremonies has been cancelled for the foreseeable future. This has caused significant delays for the affected future-citizens as they are not considered to be Australian citizens until they have attended a ceremony and made the pledge.
Prime Minister Morrison today announced that a travel ban will be placed on all non-residents and non-Australian citizens coming into Australia from 9:00pm tomorrow.
Deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly says there are no medicine shortages in Australia, but restrictions are being put in place immediately because unprecedented demand is putting strain on supplies. Importantly sales pof particular over-the-counter medicines, including Ventolin and paracetamol, will be limited to one unit per purchase.
Qantas has announced that it will stand down 20,000 of it's staff as it will suspend all scheduled international flights from later this month, following the latest Federal Government travel advice that Australians should not go overseas because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Updated statistics via World Health Organisation Situation Dashboard March 19, 2020:
Globally estimated at 207,855 confirmed cases and 8,648 deaths, 166 countries and territories with cases, 697 associated with Diamond Princess
Mainland China 81,174 cases and 3,242 deaths
Italy 35,713 confirmed cases and 2,976 deaths
Iran 17,361 confirmed cases and 1,135 deaths
Spain 13,716 confirmed cases, 598 deaths
South Korea 8,413 confirmed cases, 84 deaths
Spain 13,716 confirmed cases, 598 deaths
Germany 8,198 confirmed cases, 13 deaths
France 7,652 confirmed cases, 175 deaths
Australia 565 confirmed cases and 6 deaths:
265 in New South Wales
94 in Queensland
37 in South Australia
10 in Tasmania
121 in Victoria
35 in Western Australia
1 in ACT
0 in Northern Territory
Monday March 16, 2020 - Overseas Arrivals Must Self- Isolate for 14 days, VETASSESS cancels all offshore assessments
As of midnight last night all new overseas arrivals must isolate for two weeks, the Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also banned all Cruise Ships from foreign ports for 30days.
The ban of mass gatherings of 500 people will come into affect today and most states are implementing large fines and even jail time in New South Wales for those who choose to break self isolation orders ordered by Health professionals.
VETASSESS has decided to cancel all offshore practical trade assessments effective immediately. Assessments for professional occupations are not affected by this, but it will affect these planned offshore
assessments for trades:
- South Africa (27th March to 5th April, 2020) – Electrical, Air Conditioning Refrigeration Mechanic and Plumbing (General).
- Philippines (27 April - 1 May, 2020) - Automotive and Engineering Trades, Mechanical Engineering.
- United Kingdom (13 - 14 May, 2020) - Electrician (General), Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic.
- India (19 - 22 May, 2020) Electrician (General).
VETASSESS has advised Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) and they will contact the affected applicants who were planning to attend a VETASSESS offshore assessment venue immediately.
VETASSESS will continue to conduct technical Interviews for applicants via online facilities (Adobe Connect).
Extra Work Hours Allowed for International Students
A positive note for international students, the Department of Home Affairs on Friday announced Australia’s major supermarkets such as Woolworths and Coles will temporarily be able to offer more hours to
international student employees to help keep shelves stocked.
Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge said the changes would help supermarkets meet the immediate high demand.
Supermarkets around Australia are struggle to keep up with the extreme demand for household essentials like toilet paper and tissues and non-perishables such as rice, pasta and canned foods.
“To keep up with this demand, supermarkets have told us they need to give extra hours to current staff to stock shelves and serve Australian customers. While many of these will be Australian workers, international
students will also be able to increase their hours,” Mr Tudge said
There is a chance that will measure will be applied to other business sectors according to Mr Tudge - “We will continue to listen to businesses as the coronavirus situation develops and may consider expanding these
measures to assist other sectors if and when required. We will also consider providing flexibility with other temporary visas should the need arise,” he said.
Globally estimated at 153,648 confirmed cases and 5,735 deaths, 146 countries and territories with cases, 697 associated with Diamond Princess
Mainland China 81,048 cases and 3, 204 deaths
Italy 21,157 confirmed cases and 1,441 deaths
Iran 12,729 confirmed cases and 608 deaths
South Korea 8,162 confirmed cases and 75 deaths
Spain 5,753 confirmed cases 136 deaths
France 4469 confirmed cases, 91 deaths
- Australia 249 confirmed cases and 3 deaths:
134 in New South Wales
61 in Queensland
20 in South Australia
7 in Tasmania
71 in Victoria
17 in Western Australia
Friday March 13, 2020 - Mass Events Cancelled, Home Affairs Minister Tested Positive for Coronavirus
Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton Diagnosed with Coronavirus
Today the Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton confirmed that he has tested positive for Coronavirus. He is the first member of the Australian Government to contract the virus.
Mass Events Cancelled
On the advice of Australia's chief medical officer Brendan Murphy, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has advised against mass gatherings of 500 people or more starting from Monday 16 March 2020. This advice does not apply to schools or universities.
Following the PM's advice, a surge of events have already been cancelled, including the Australian Grand Prix, Tasting Australia, the Sydney Royal Easter Show and cricket matches at the SCG.
Coronavirus Confirmed for SA Highschool Student
In other news, South Australia has experienced the first peron-to-person transmission of Coronavirus as a student from Sacred Heart College's senior campus is confirmed to have contracted the virus. The school will be closed for cleaning over the weekend.
After weeks of speculation, the World Health Organisation has now offically declared a Pandemic and are calling on all countries to take "urgent and agressive action".
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the number of cases outside of China had increased 13-fold in the past two weeks, but added "all countries can change the course of this pandemic".
Prime Minister Scott Morrison considers following in lockstep with President Trump by asking health officials to consider extending the coronavirus travel ban to all travellers from Europe.
Earlier today President Trump announced that the United State will temporarily suspend most travel from the European Union. These restrictions, are set to commence on Friday March 12, and last for 30 days.
However they do not apply to US citizens or to tourists from the UK, he said. The restrictions apply to most foreign nationals who have been in the 26 countries of the Schengen area during the 14 days before their
planned arrival in the United States. Source : The Guardian, March 12, 2020 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/11/coronavirus-outbreak-us-trump-latest
Drivethru Medical Testing
When we think about Drive-through...food, drinks, cofee it's usually to a customer convience but in the case of Pathology South Australia's drive-through Coronavirus Clinic.
The clinic is set to be run out of the Old Repatriation Hospital in Daw Park and is claiming to be the first of it's kind in Australia.
The clinical target is for one patient will be seen every 20 minutes, patients will be able to wind their windows down and have test swabs taken.
Market and Economic Effects
This accounement has already had a negative effect on Wall Street and Australia's stock market will see yet another difficult day. Source: ABC News https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-12/coronavirus-updates-who-declares-pandemic/12047598
Tom Hanks and Wife Rita Wilson Test Positive to Coronvirus on the Gold Coast
The couple are the first celebrity couple to confirm contraction of the virus, in statement on social media. Hanks states "The Medical Officials have protocols that must be followed.
We Hanks’ will be tested, observed, and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires."
Southern Cross University Shut Down Due to Outbreak
The Lismore campus in northern NSW and Gold Coast campus in Queensland are in lockdown to stop any potential spread of the virus after a staff member tested positive.
As Australia continues it's already strong response to containing the virus it is essential that students stay in constant and direct contact with the Universities and Educational
Institutions as we see temporary closures on campuses around the country start to taken place.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that the Corona Virus travel ban with be extended to Italy as of 6pm Australian East Standard Time. Italy now officially joines China, Iran and South Korea on Australia's banned list, while it faces total lock down as a nation in a last ditch attempt at steaming the spread of COVID-19.
Globally estimated at 119,184 confirmed cases and 4,298 deaths
Mainland China 80,778 cases and 3,158 deaths
- Italy 10,149 confirmed cases and 631 deaths
- Iran 8,042 confirmed cases and 291 deaths
South Korea 7,775 confirmed cases and 61 deaths
60 in New South Wales
15 in Queensland
6 in South Australia
2 in Tasmania
15 in Victoria
4 in Western Australia
10 associated with Diamond Princess
Friday March 6, 2020 - Travel restrictions extended to South Korea and enhanced screening measures for Italy
Foreign nationals who have been in South Korea on or after 5 March 2020 will not be allowed to enter Australia for 14 days from the time they have left or transitioned through South Korea. Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members are excluded from the travel ban, however will still be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Those arriving from Italy will be subjected to enhanced border screening measures, including health screening and temperature testing.
Globally estimated at 98,429 confirmed cases and 3,386 deaths
Mainland China 80,555 cases and 3,042 deaths
South Korea 6,284 confirmed cases and 40 deaths
- Italy 3,858 confirmed cases and 148 deaths
- Iran 3,513 confirmed cases and 108 deaths
Australia 59 confirmed cases and 2 deaths:
25 in New South Wales
10 in Queensland
6 in South Australia
1 in Tasmania
6 in Victoria
1 in Western Australia
10 associated with Diamond Princess
SA Health have released information for flights which carried passengers who were confirmed to have Coronavirus:
Source: SA Health
Supermarkets all over the country are running out of specific items as the Australian population start to prepare for the worst case scenario of the Coronavirus becoming a panademic.
Medical mask have been in scarse supply for many weeks with most good quality masks exhausted from the Bushfires earlier in the year. Now we are seeing extraordinary prices for even the most basic of protective wear. Not to mention our obession with toilet paper! There are empty shelves in supermarkets and large chain stores around the country. For example this local Adelaide store.
Globally estimated at 95,481 confirmed cases, 3,286 deaths
Mainland China 80,430 cases 3,013 deaths (32 new)
Outside of China confirmed 15,040, 84 countries and 1 international conveyance (the "Diamond Princess" cruise ship harbored in Yokohama, Japan 705 cases, 7 deaths). 276 deaths outside mainland China
Australia 50 confirmed cases, 2 deaths
Monday March 2, 2020 - Iran included in Travel ban, while Government extends travel ban to China until March 7
Australia has announced a travel ban on individuals coming to Australia from Iran, because of the coronavirus outbreak in the Middle Eastern nation. 2019 Austrade figures state that where were 2,639 Enrolled international students from Iran. Any affected students are strongly in encourage to be contact direct with their education providers as each institute has it's own policy and procedures.
As more outbreaks start to happen in Europe and across Asia (Italy) and (South Korea) especially, there may be more countries add to the travel. Therefore it is important for all international to stay tuned to this issue.
Despite previous government announcements that high school students from China would be permitted to enter the country, the Prime Minister has announced in the media today that there will be no 'carve outs' in the ban.
Globally estimated at 89,075 confirmed cases, 2,7`20 deaths
Mainland China 80,026 cases 425 deaths (64 new)
Outside of China confirmed 9,049, 63 countries and 1 international conveyance (the "Diamond Princess" cruise ship harbored in Yokohama, Japan 705 cases, 7 deaths). 141 deaths outside mainland China
Australia 29 confirmed cases, 1 death
Wednesday February 26, 2020 Update 2:
Department of Home Affairs Response to Coronavirus cancellation - No Visa Application Charges for selected Students, Student guardians and Visitors reapplying for visas
This annoucement will bring relief to the very small group of people who are currently in Australia as holders of Border Visa Subclass 773.
A Border Visa (Subclass 773) provides a pathway, in very limited circumstances such
as the Coronavirus outbreak, to certain travellers who:
- arrived in Australia not holding a visa or whose visa is cancelled in immigration clearance;
- are not exempt from Australian visa requirements; and
- are seeking to be immigration cleared.
This type of visa is rarely issued and the person must be invited by Department of Home Affairs officers to apply for the visa at the entry point.
It is likely that most of these Border Visa holders were those who had their visas cancelled while they were in only their to Australia on the day the travel ban was introduced. Individuals cannot make an application for a Border Visa to enter Australia on their own initiative.
Student (Temporary) Class TU applicants reapplying for visa subclasses 500 and 590
The Visa Application for the class of Students and Student Guardians’ who are former visa holders affected by a Public Health Emergency of International Concern designated by the World Health Organisation is NIL. However they must be:
a) in Australia
b) a reapplying applicant (as defined here)
c) making an application for the Subclass 500 visa or the Subclass 590 visa no later than 3 months after the cancellation of the applicants Subclass 500 visa or Subclass 590 visa.
Important notes on methods of application
Approval to make a non Internet application for Sch 1, Item 4 must be sought by sending an email to an authorised officer of the Home Affairs Department. Authorisation to lodge a non Internet application will be provided by email.
The application must then be submitted according to the directions specified in the authorising email.
A copy of the authorising email must be attached to the application
A non Internet application must be made using approved non-Internet Form 1543.
The Visa Application for the Visitor (class FA) for those who are former visa holders affected by a Public Health Emergency of International Concern designated by the World Health Organisation is NIL. However they must be:
Visitor (Class FA) visa applicants reapplying for visa subclass 600
a) in Australia
b) a reapplying applicant (as defined below)
c) making an application for the Subclass 600 Visitor visa no later than 3 months after the cancellation of the applicants Subclass 600 visa.
Please note these adjustments are effective as of February 25, 2020.
If you are part of the group affected and require assistance with the reapplication process. Please don’t hesitate to contact Work Visa Lawyers on 08 8351 9956 or arrange an appointment online https://www.workvisalawyers.com.au/arrange-an-appointment.html
Wednesday February 26, 2020 Update 1: The Latest Response to CoronaVirus COVID-19 from Australian Universities
The Australian university academic year has now officially started with very little movement on the travel ban for China.
In a effort to curb the huge loss the revenue, universities around Australia are starting to release campaigns to retain Chinese international fee paying students.
The University of Western Sydney was the first to announce their rather controversial cash based incentive. The institute will be providing a one off subsidy of up to $1500 to cover the extra cost of travelling to a third destination in order to get around the travel ban from China to Australia. Meanwhile the University of Adelaide has followed suit and has also chosen to offer their 3,000 students a “care package” to the value of $5000. This includes discounts on fees, access to course work, resources, forums and lectures online and funds to travel to Australia once the travel ban is lifted.
Economic Impact of COVID-19Now that the Australian economic market is starting to feel the effects of the CoronaVirus displaying serious flaws in our global supply chain. Manufacturing and distribution of goods has in many cases ground to a halt and now Australian retailers are unable to fulfill their business requirements and sales targets way down. With market growth decreasing day by day the Prime Minister Scott Morrison is under significant pressure to ease the bans further.
However as Coronavirus moves towards the pandemic state, with uncontrolled outbreaks now happening outside of China in countries such as Iran and South Korea and Italy. It is difficult to see how simply lifting the ban to China will help the economy at this stage.
The Federal Government's Education Minister Dan Tehan announce on Saturday February 22, that the federal government has relaxed
the Coronavirus travel ban for senior high school students ie. Years 11 and 12. However there is a criteria that must be satisfied before the
students will be allowed to return and resume their education in Australia.
- If the states and territories are in agreeance with the Federal government, students will undergo a 13-step approval process to come to Australia for the school.
- Each case will require the support of the student's school.
- Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy stated it is not a compulsory plan, therefore re-entry may not be guaranteed.
Source: Coronavirus travel ban restrictions to be eased to allow some school students to return to Australia, Ferguson, Kathleen, February 22, 2020.
Importantly the Federal Government has also said that it will look ti extend similar exemptions to Chinese University students this week. So stay tuned for that news!
Updated Statistics: Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) situation reports - World Health Organization (WHO) (link https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200218-sitrep-29-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=6262de9e_2)
Globally estimated at 79,021 confirmed cases, 2,720 deaths
Mainland China 76,944 cases 425 deaths (64 new)
Outside of China confirmed 2,077, 33 countries and 1 international conveyance (the "Diamond Princess" cruise ship harbored in Yokohama, Japan). 22 deaths
Australia 22 confirmed cases 0 deaths
Predictions Going Forward
Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members will still be exempted from the travel restrictions, though they are required to self-isolate for a 14 day period.
Coronavirus Travel Restrictions Update
Extension to the current travel ban will be debated by cabinet’s national security committee this week. It is expected that the ban will be extended for another week until 29 February
Impact on Spouses of Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents
On 1 February 2020, travel restrictions were imposed on foreign nationals who have recently been in mainland China. The Department of Home Affairs announced that travel restrictions excluded Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and their immediate family members (spouses, legal guardians and dependents only).
However since the introduction of the travel restrictions, many Chinese nationals who recently married an Australian citizen or permanent resident have not been permitted to re-enter Australia, despite providing evidence of their relationship. Some have even had their visas cancelled.
What to do if you are the spouse of an Australian citizen or permanent resident?
Following the confusion, the Department of Home Affairs has released a guideline for immediate family members of Australian citizens and permanent residents to ensure smooth entry to Australia.
If you hold a temporary visa, you need to provide evidence of your relationship to the Department of Home Affairs prior to travelling. To prove you are the spouse of an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you will need to provide a marriage certificate or relationship registration certificate. If you are the fiancé of an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you will not be allowed entry as you are not considered to be an immediate family member.
The link to provide this information to the Department of Home Affairs is: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/departmental-forms/online-forms/australian-immigration-enquiry-form
It is not recommended that you take your certificate to the airport as airport staff cannot assess your documentation.
Updated Statistics: Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) situation reports - World Health Organization (WHO) (link https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200218-sitrep-29-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=6262de9e_2)
- Globally estimated at 73,332 confirmed (1901 new)
- Mainland China 72,528 confirmed (1891 new), 1870 deaths (98 new)
- Outside of China 804 confirmed (10 new) 25 countries, 3 deaths
- Australia 15 confirmed, 8 recovered, 0 deaths
Travel Restriction Updates
The Australian Government has announced that the current travel restrictions have been extended for a further 7 days until 22 February 2020 (link https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/news-media/current-alerts/novel-coronavirus). This period will be reviewed and may be extended.
Since the introduction of the travel restrictions on 1 February 2020, many international students are travelling to another country, staying there for 14 days and then attempting
to gain entry into Australia.
Those who have been outside of China for 14 consecutive days or more have been allowed entry into Australia (link https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/news-subsite/files/coronavirus-students-20200201.pdf)
If you arrive to Australia from another country and it is determined that you have not been outside of China for 14 days or more, your visa will be cancelled.
The Department of Home Affairs advises against taking this route as travel restrictions may change without notice.
Number of Student Visa Holders Affected by Travel Restrictions/Home Isolation
The table below provides a current estimate of the number of student visa holders from China who may be affected by the travel restrictions or home isolation requirements
due to the Novel Coronavirus (link https://internationaleducation.gov.au/News/Latest-News/Pages/Novel-coronavirus-update-for-international-students.aspx).
- Globally estimated at 44,789 confirmed cases
- Mainland China 44,311 confirmed cases 1,110 deaths (548 new)
- Outside of China 478 confirmed, 28 countries 2 deaths
- Australia 15 confirmed cases, 0 deaths, 5 recoveries
The Australian Government has announced that it will continue it's travel ban to China for the foreseeable future. Click here to read the latest travel advice.
Minister for Education Dan Tehan has announced that mental heath support is available for international students who are impacted by the coronavirus and its effect on families, study plans and travel.
The Minister's announcement is available to read here
The department has also put to together a resource document that lists a variety of organisations that students can reach out to for support for their medical health situation. Click here to access this information. Hopefully this inititiative will be of some practical help for the Chinese Student Community.
- Globally estimated at 27,668 confirmed cases
- Mainland China 27,668 confirmed cases, 562 deaths (72 new)
- Outside of China 246 confirmed, 28 countries, 2 deaths
- Australia 13 confirmed cases, 0 deaths,
There have been reports of Chinese tourists seeking to extend their visas as their inability to travel back to China due to the Australian Government travel ban conditions.
Globally estimated at 24,552 confirmed cases
Mainland China 24,324 confirmed cases 425 deaths (64 new)
Outside of China 218 confirmed, 28 countries 2 deaths
Australia 13 confirmed cases
Whilst Universities Australia have spoken out aganist the treatment Chinese students arriving in Australia received from Boarder Force over the weekend as the travel ban
was being implemented, calling for an apology for their mistreatment. Prime Minister Scott Morrision has praised the Australian Chinese community for helping limit
the potential spread of the virus by adhering to quarantine advise and 24 day self isolation periods.
Globally estimated at 20,629 confirmed cases
Mainland China 20,438 confirmed cases 425 deaths (64 new)
Outside of China 146 confirmed (14 new) 23 countries 1 death
Australia 12 confirmed cases
Students, Visa holders and Australian Expats residing in mainland China can access the latest information Regarding Travel Restrictions can be found on the Australian Border Force Website.
The Simplified Chinese version of these communication documents can be found here.
As of November 2019 there were 754,656 international students in Australian Education Institutes. China is the number one country of origin making up 28% of all students.
Each university around the country has implemented their own response to the outbreak and are advocating for all students to have the same access to services and classes. Some campuses are holding Skype calls in place of face to face meetings for those who are in self-quarantine example。
Current WHO Statistics for Coronavirus
Globally 14557 confirmed (2604 new)
Mainland China 14411 confirmed (2590 new) 2110 severe (315 new) 304 deaths (45 new)
Outside of China 146 confirmed (14 new) 23 countries 1 death
Australia 12 confirmed cases
Manadrin Chinese Translated Information on the Work Visa Lawyers Chinese Language Website
All travel to mainland China is prohibited.
All travellers arriving to Australia out of mainland China (not just Hubei province) are asked to self-isolate for a period of 14 days from the time they leave mainland China - to minimise the potential for transmission.
Additional border measures will be implemented to deny entry to Australia to people who have left or transited through mainland China from 1 February, with the exception of Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family and air crews who have been using appropriate personal protective equipment.
It is estimated that almost 300 Australians have boarded an evacuation flight at Wuhan airport bound for Christmas island via Western Australia.
Due to the travel ban effective as of February 1, 2020. International students who have travelled home during the university break and Chinese New Year celebrations who have not yet returned to Australia could face difficulty in returning to Australia in time for the start of Semester One study period. Each individual Australian university has its own policies and students are encouraged to make direct contact with their educational institutions. For example, some institutes have already been taken actions such as: Monash university has already cancelled its February exams and delayed their commencement date, University of Sydney has allowed all students the flexibility to enrol up to two weeks after the start of semester unless there are exceptional circumstances which would prevent them from completing the course; and offering commencing students who have been impacted and unable to travel to commence their studies the option to defer or have their fees refunded.
Temporary Visa Holders
There are a number of questions for surrounding current temporary visa holders, those whose visa are expiring and those wanting to apply for an Australian visa at this point in time.
For the most current information on these matters visit the Department of Home Affairs website.
Community Impact so far
The cruel timing of this epidemic has had an immediate and visible impact on Chinese communities all over Australia. At a that is meant to be a celebration Lunar New Year official functions, street parties and celebrations and been cancelled, postponed or poorly attended due to self-quarantining and general worry of exposure to the coronavirus in public settings.
Some agencing have chosen to not take face to face enquiries, instead handling all business queries by telephone. Face masks have sold out pharmacies, as individuals and businesses make the decision to wear them when in public settings.
The travel ban obviously affects individuals' ability to return to work which may put their employment in jeopardy. However, the 14 day self-quarantine condition will cause significant disruption to work, schooling and childcare services. Children who have visited mainland Chinese in prior to February 1, will not be permitted to attend any Australian childcare facility or school until they have completed their quarantine period, showing travel documentation as proof.
Since media reports on the coronavirus started circulating in late January there has been fear and uncertainty among some elements of the wider Australian population. Unfortunately there have been anecdotal reports of an increase in racist incidents, with members of the Chinese Australian community being blamed for the disease purely based on their ethnicity. We hope that rationality, health education and compassion will prevail.
Do you need help with an Australian visa application?
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