The Effect of the Bush Fires and Coronavirus on Backpackers in Australia on a 417 visa (Working Holiday Visa)
Red Earth Migration Agent Perth
Osborne Park, WA, 6017, Australia
Mobile: 0410 755 603
More than two million temporary visa holders living and working in Australia have been left in the lurch! This is due to the Coronavirus pandemic as well as the bushfire that raged over the wild tourist attractions of Australia last year! This has led to an adverse effect on the backpackers of Australia, as they face the risk of breaking migration laws.
Adverse Effects on the Working Holiday Visa Subclass 417 Holders
Australia relies much upon foreign labour for farm work in the regional and rural areas of the country. However, the lockdown due to Coronavirus outbreak has made these temporary visa holders not engage in farm work in the regional areas. In turn, this adversely affects their ‘specified work’ requirements for extensions on the working holiday visa.
Breach of Visa Rules
The near standstill of global travel has left them not able to get out of Australia when they should, legally. As such, they may need to be moved on to bridging visas to avoid being in breach of visa conditions and become unlawful. Some of them are also at risk of breaching visa rules if their work conditions change.
Social Security Payments
A large number of these visa holders are New Zealanders, totalling more than 600,000. These persons are on special category visas. Australia’s travel ban does not apply to New Zealand residents. As such, those who remain in the country are not eligible for social security payments if they lose their jobs.
Various remedial actions are sought by many institutions for the betterment of the trying situation. They are as follows;
The Migration Council of Australia
The Migration Council of Australia is considering moving these visa holders on to bridging visas. This measure will help them avoid being in breach of conditions and becoming unlawful. A review across all temporary migration streams of visa status and capacity may come through to support people in their vulnerabilities.
The National Farmers’ Federation
The migrant workforce has a direct impact on the farming and horticulture sectors of Australia. As such, the National Farmers’ Federation continues to discuss concerns about the restrictions on foreign travel with the federal government. The Federation seeks assurance that these foreign workers are granted an extension of their temporary visas to ease the labour shortage.
Department of Home Affairs
⮚ Flexibiliies on visa extensions due to Coronavirus outbreak
The Department of Home Affairs has announced flexibilities to extensions of temporary visas. Accordingly, any non-citizens wanting a visa extension can apply for another visa. Visa applications will be assessed considering the Covid-19 enhanced border measures and applicants’ individual circumstances.
⮚ Flexibiliies on visa requirements for backpackers due to Bushfire
Backpackers, who are working holiday visa holders, are now allowed to work for a single employer for 12 months. However, it is required that they work on bushfire recovery efforts. The recovery work includes rebuilding homes, fences and farms as well as demolition, land clearing and repairing dams, roads and railways. Backpackers who engage in this work can also apply for a 2nd visa.
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