The Federal Government must provide income support for temporary visa holders impacted by the coronavirus shutdown, Greens Immigration spokesperson Nick McKim says.
“There are about 1.5 million people in Australia on temporary visas, and the Government has an urgent responsibility to provide income support for those who need it,” Senator McKim said.
“Many of them have no income and no capacity to leave the country due to restrictions imposed in response to the pandemic, and face losing their homes and jobs.”
“Failure to provide income support would not only be inhumane and unfair, but would compromise their capacity to self isolate and comply with the government’s requirements for physical distancing.”
“You can’t self isolate if you are living on the street, and failure to urgently respond could cause a public health nightmare.”
“People who urgently need income support include people seeking asylum, people who hold temporary work or skilled visas, international students, people who hold working holiday visas and New Zealand citizens on non-protected Special Category Visas, who do not all have access to income support and in many cases cannot leave the country.”
“Legislation passed yesterday gives the government the levers it needs to respond. It is now just a matter of political will.”
“Many people will also need an extension to their temporary visas so they are not caught in legal limbo.”