If you worked in any of these countries, you could be due a Tax Refund

How COVID has impacted temporary Australian residents

Coronavirus restrictions around Australia have caused major contractions to business and raised concern on work continuity to key staff and casual workers who are struggling to keep their jobs and support themselves down under.

In the early days of the March lockdown, many temporary visa holders working in jobs such as hospitality and retail lost their employment and struggled to meet basic living expenses.

International students, backpackers, refugees, sponsored workers and many others struggled with this.

A large-scale survey of over 5,000 visa holders from UnionsNSW demonstrates the difficulties facing temporary residents in Australia at present.

·        65% of participants lost their job

·        39% did not have enough money to cover basic living expenses

·        43% were skipping meals on a regular basis

·        34% were already homeless, or anticipated imminent eviction because they could not pay rent.

The average tax refund Down Under is AU$2600


Though many are struggling to find a job, there are major workforce gaps in the horticulture industry, which is typically reliant on overseas workers.

To encourage foreigners to fill these jobs, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced the following measures:

·        Visa extensions to backpackers, Pacific Islanders and seasonal workers, plus bonuses for welfare recipients as an incentive to pick fruit

·        The age limit of 30 on the working holidaymaker visa will also be scrapped to enable those aged 31 and older to continue working in agriculture

·        Those who claim JobSeeker and Youth Allowance could earn up to $300 per fortnight from a farmer before their welfare is cut

Since Australia’s international borders were sealed in March, many of the foreign workers who would normally do seasonal work have been unable to enter the country.

Almost 50,000 working holiday makers left the country when the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

According to new data reports, 85,691 working holiday makers were registered in Australia in June.

Labour market agents offer a wide range of farm work across Australia where farmers are keen to hire people on bridging visas but offer low pay rates.

Employers need to consider the impact of travel restrictions for employees who have visas that will be expiring whilst overseas or cannot return to Australia due to travel restrictions.

All Australian states have developed support for workers affected by the Coronavirus (Covid-19).

We have compiled a list of pages where you can find help!

If you are located in one of the following states, make sure to seek the necessary help and support through these difficult times!

NSW Government has provided support to international students. Find more info here.

Queensland Government has set up a help page where people are able to find local jobs and harvest work opportunities across the state. More info here

Victoria Government also offers a range of state assistance to temporary and provisional visa holders impacted by the Covid-19. More info here

Government of South Australia provides financial support for individuals and international student support – more info here

Government of Western Australia offers the following support to short-term stay and temporary workers.

Tasmanian government has the following help page support for temporary Visa holders.

Find help in your own language and know your rights in Australia FairWork.Gov.AU

About The Author

Rory Lynskey - Digital Content Executive @ Taxback.com

Rory is the Digital Content Executive at Taxback.com. Rory graduated from Technological University Dublin with a degree in Journalism in 2019, and has had his work published both online and in print at a national and regional level.

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