May 5, 2021

Update: migration visas and covid-19

What you need to know if you are on or applying for any of these visas.


For permanent working visa holders, the government has signaled that if you lose your job as a result of the health crisis your employer may be eligible to give you financial assistance through the JobKeeper program. At this stage, no relief has been announced for temporary work visa holders (subclass 482/457). Temporary visa holders who have lost their job may be able to have early access money in their superannuation to get some financial relief.

The border with Australia is now severely restricted. This means that if you decide to go back to your home country, you may not be able to get back into Australia for a long time. The rough timeline referred to by the Prime Minister indicates that the border may be restricted for up to 6 months.


There are no major changes for people who are on partner visas or on bridging visas associated with an onshore partner visa application. If you hold a partner visa and are overseas you meet the travel exemption to come back to Australia. Note this does not include prospective marriage visa holders (subclass 300) who cannot travel to Australia at this stage.


The government has relaxed the 20 hour work restriction for some student visa holders depending on what kind of work you do (ie for people working in Aged Care, supermarkets etc). However, for other student visa holders where their school has closed or moved to online this does not mean that you are allowed to work full-time.

On 3 April 2020, the Prime Minister announced that if student visa holders are experiencing financial difficulty that they can look at returning home. Please remember though that student visa holders should also be eligible to apply for an early release of their superannuation if they have been working in Australia.


The Department of Home Affairs has been advising some applicants to apply for a bridging visa E to stay lawful in Australia if their visa has expired and they have become an ‘unlawful non-citizen’. Bridging visa Es are free to apply for but if you hold a Bridging Visa E for more than 28 days and then leave Australia you will have essentially a three year ban on applying for a new temporary visa to come back to Australia. There are exemptions on this ban however if you apply for a permanent visa to return to Australia.

We would recommend looking instead at applying for an onshore visitor visa (subclass 600) instead before your current visa expires. The visitor visa has an application fee of $345 (a subsequent temporary application charge of $700 may also have to be paid if you have applied for a temporary visa while previously being in Australia). If you are experiencing financial hardship you may also be able to get work rights while holding the visitor visa.

Email us today if you need help in this difficult time via or contact us through our contact page.

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