Hi to All, Please take extra care guys wherever you are, take care of your love ones too. Especially to our friends in Singapore, more being confirmed, and are through community spread, no longer from people who travelled from China. Observe proper hygiene at all times and also monitor our little ones as they often put their hands in their mouth.
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Coronavirus Update, TSS, Student and 485 visa holders

The latest measures to combat the Coronavirus pandemic have been felt instantly by everyone in Australia: citizens, permanent residents, temporary visa holders or unlawful non-citizens alike. The Government is estimating at least one million people could be made unemployed as the Coronavirus wreaks havoc on the Australian economy. International students and Subclass 482 visa holders are among the hundreds of thousands of people who have already lost their jobs.

In the last few days, MIA have attended meetings with Acting Minister for Immigration Tudge and with very senior managers within the Department of Home Affairs about measures to protect and preserve the entitlements of temporary visa holders and visa applicants.

The Government and the Department are working through the issues with the MIA attempting to find solutions. The Government does not want to see temporary visa holders becoming vulnerable within the community and open to exploitation. A whole of Government approach is being taken within Home Affairs, Health and Social Security developing strategies to protect visa holders.

The Border Force Commissioner has been given powers to approve travel in compelling and compassionate situations. The Government is likely to put a framework around that which may include critical infrastructure projects, health and essential services, split families and temporary visa holders with a prior established residence in Australia and who were caught offshore by the most recent travel restrictions. Changes to the travel restrictions need to be approved by the National Security Committee of the Cabinet.

Some issues can be quickly fixed by adjusting policy settings. Issues that can be remedied by instrument and those involving changes to the regulations and law, are more time consuming to implement.

The MIA is encouraging the Government to prescribe the Coronavirus pandemic as a national disaster in the Migration Regulations and then adopt of range of measures to assist visa holders accordingly.

Some of the measures we have asked the Department to implement include:

  • immediately waive visa condition 8503 for all visa holders currently in Australia so they can apply for other visas
  • create a COVID-19 specific fee-free visa solution which allows work rights and access to Medicare for the duration of the emergency
  • consider extending temporary visas automatically until 30 October 2020 in the first instance
  • immediately remove LMT and SAF requirements

MIA have also raised many visa specific issues and business sponsorship obligations in relation to the part-timing of jobs, leave without pay, stand-downs and retrenchments. The Department is aware that the skilled workers stood down now due to the many forced business closures will need to be re-engaged when those businesses are permitted to reopen.

MIA have also raised matters pertaining to eligibility for Subclasses 186/187 TRT provisions, moving from the Subclasses 188/489 provisional visas to the permanent Subclasses 888/887 visas, and other visa eligibility and sponsorship obligations.

MIA have discussed possible solutions for international students who can’t apply for Subclass 485 visas caught offshore by the pandemic and travel restrictions.

The Government doesn’t want to see people become unlawful non-citizens. Temporary visa holders are encouraged to retain lawful status.

AAT – COVID arrangements
  • the AAT will not be conducting any ‘in person’ hearings for the foreseeable future
  • hearings will be conducted by telephone, where the matter is suitable to this format of hearing, including taking witness evidence and interpreted proceedings

Coronavirus and Working Holiday visa holders

We have been contacted by numerous 417/462 visa holders who are in Australia and have lost their jobs and sources of income and are in a situation where they cannot go back to their home countries due to flights being cancelled. Right now there is no government assistance for these visa holders and if their visa is running out they may need to apply for a Visitor visa.

Applying for a 485 visa

Students who have finished their courses and are eligible to apply for the 485 visa are facing difficulty in organizing their English tests (IELTS and PTE) as they have been cancelled by the test centres so it is advised to plan ahead to take the test.

Section 48 barred

Some applicants may be subject to a section 48 bar which previously could have left Australia and then submitted a visa application and then come back onshore. With the current travel restrictions and travel ban this is no longer an option and those in this situation need to wait until these restrictions are lifted or wait offshore until a decision is made on their visa application.

Unlawful Non Citizens

If your visa has expired and you have become unlawful you would need to contact the department and obtain a Bridging visa E to allow you to stay lawfully in Australia while you make arrangements to leave, finalise your immigration matter or wait for an immigration decision. With the current travel restrictions and flights being cancelled your stay can be prolonged and therefore you may ask for work rights if you can demonstrate financial hardship.

Health Examinations-Bupa halts bookings

In light of the current COVID-19 situation and to ensure we can meet Australian Government guidelines, we are currently not taking new bookings and are rescheduling some existing bookings. New bookings will become available in the coming days once existing bookings have been rescheduled.
For customers with existing bookings, you will be notified shortly if your appointment needs to be rescheduled. No action is required from you. Bupa will contact you as soon as possible to reschedule your appointment.
We appreciate your understanding and patience as we work to ensure the safety of our customers and staff.

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