Australia – COVID – 19 Visa Holder Information Sheet
Q:- I am working in Australia and my visa is due to expire shortly and I cannot/don’t wish to depart Australia. What do I do?
A:- You must apply for another visa to remain lawfully in Australia. You must do this before your current visa expires.
If you do not intend to work you can apply for a tourist visa to remain in Australia in the short term.
If you will continue to work for an employer, then a relevant work related visa application must be lodged such as a 482.
Q:- I hold a 482/457 visa. Can I take Leave Without Pay (LWOP)?
A:- Yes, all 482/457 visa holders are entitled to LWOP as in accordance with Australian employment law.
LWOP is generally only acceptable if it is for maternity/paternity leave, sick leave, a work-based injury, or significant personal reasons.
LWOP should generally not exceed three months, unless the employer is obliged to provide the leave under Australian workplace laws.
For any LWOP, it is expected that:
- the arrangement is mutually agreed upon by the sponsor and sponsored person (you)
- there is a formal application for leave without pay that has been formally approved by the employer (including leave applications that are processed and approved electronically)
Q:- I am the holder of a subclass 482/457 visa and might be made redundant - what do I do ?
A:- If you stop working for the employer who nominated you, you have 60 or 90* days from the date of cessation to do one of the following:
- find another employer who is willing to nominate you
- lodge another visa application to remain in Australia
- make appropriate arrangements to depart Australia
* 90 day rule is applicable to you if your 457 visa was granted before 19 November 2016
Q: - My employer has discussed the possibility of standing me down - what are the implications of this if it happens ?
If your employer is considering standing you down and placing you on unpaid leave is acceptable as long as the employer follows Fair Work Australia requirements. It is not a breach of visa conditions for you to go on leave without pay (LWOP). Under immigration policy, this period should not generally exceed 3 months unless it is required by Australian workplace laws (e.g. maternity leave) or “exceptional circumstances” apply. Further policy may follow from the Department on COVID-19 and “exceptional circumstance” exceptions.
We recommend that temporary stand down of sponsored employees be notified to the Department of Home Affairs by email.
Q:- Can I access any government support?
A: - Temporary visa holders are generally unable to access social security payments.
While financial support measures were recently announced, only New Zealand citizens on the Subclass 444 visa are eligible. Though the government has signalled they are considering options for other temporary visa holders, further details have not been made public. Again, we will update as soon as information becomes available.
Q: - I want to/have applied for permanent residency sponsored by my employer. Will I be impacted?
A: - There is concern over how changes in employment status might affect permanent residence applications under the 186 Employer Nomination Scheme. For example, if you are stood down or take extended leave without pay (LWOP) you may have difficulty in meeting the requirement for residence.
If you have already lodged an application and awaiting a decision, the application will be refused if you lose your employment with your sponsor.
For employees whose employers are unable to continue sponsorship, there may be other visa options available so please contact us for an independent assessment.