500 signatures reached
To: Scott Morrison
Help for Students, Backpackers, NZ citizens & Temporary visa holders in COVID-19 crisis
Offer help for temporary visa holders such as backpackers, students, NZ residents and visitor visas etc such as an interim visa, rental relief at the very least. It's a strange and uncertain time and we need to all pull together to help each other out, not kick us out of the country.
Why is this important?
Students, backpackers and other temporary visa holders contribute to the Australian economy just like citizens... we pay our tax/ rent/ bills and Australia is quite unique that part of it's economy relies on backpacker tourism/ education/ farm work/ hospitality and professional workers (just to name a few) from temporary visa holders almost 3million of your 25 just so you get an idea.
It's time to open your eyes and see the bigger picture. People are struggling who can't get home, flights cancelled, lost their jobs and kicked out of accommodation with visas soon expiring. There has barely been any mention of offering help or even preliminary extension of visas at the very least. New Zealand has offered some great help to temporary visa holders, well done Jacinta!! It is clear that help is out there however right now it is being ignored. Australia needs to be doing the same!!
Can you imagine the spread of the virus if all temporary visa holders were to up and leave to their own country right now? No wonder our death toll is rising overnight still letting people fly in and out and also what kind of a hit would Australia's economy take even further if all of those people were to leave? Of course Australian citizens are the priority but what about the rest of us that you rely so heavily on? We've also been told to stay home and refrain from non-essential travel... so what is the right answer?
I personally have been in Australia 4 years now- started as a backpacker and gone on to do further study whilst also working. I have been out of the UK long enough that the British embassy also can't help me. As a student I am taxed at exactly the same rate as Australian residents and all backpackers get 65% of their superannuation funds taken off them by the government when they leave the country... that's interesting isn't it. Never mind all the contributions other skilled workers/ visa holders/ New Zealand citizens make to the Australian system and are entitled to nothing or have no flexibility or consideration for their visas and situations at this point in time. If and when everything does go back to 'normal' not only will there be lots of disgruntled temporary visa holders who have not had a second thought if it carries on this way but also a lack and shortage of willing and skilled workers in which we fill the gap.
The ultimate primary industry that Australia operates on is agriculture and labouring. How many of these people that work within this sector do we reckon alone are on temporary visas? Guess what else the Australian government considers a vital resource to Australian society which they intend to grow further year upon year... education. Yes it seems that of course we as temporary visa holders rely on Australia but but it also seems simultaneously Australia relies on us.
A migration agent said to me earlier " When I write visas for sponsoring employer as a migration agent, I am required to provide submissions that neither temporary visa holder workers nor Australian workers are discriminated and they have equal pay. If our government instils that in order for these workers to fill skills shortages, especially in regional Australia, and grants them visas to be here medium to long term, why the government can not offer Jobkeeper option for each and every one of them, so the employer can continue paying these people who were stood down (ie CHEFS from Hilton, Mirvac, Sheraton, cafes/restaurants, etc.) for the example." It doesn't make much sense to me either...
My visa expires in June and I've just lost my job where I've been working for 2years since I started my studies. I actually work in HR & Recruitment so part of my job is to help people including Australians find a job and bring in an income. Yet when it comes to me there is zero help for my situation and I'm sure I'm just one of thousands who feel the same way. I never miss a bill payment or my rent and I only just finished my studies last week which has cost me more than $10k+ all up which has nicely gone back in to the Australian economy/government and before you ask, no I don't receive financial help from my parents.
In a pandemic like this we all need to stay where we are and help each other. I'm also from the UK which is part of the Commonwealth so really I'm Australia's neighbouring sister... does leaving a sister potentially unable to get home at risk of catching the virus and bringing it back to England where the death toll is out of control back to her parents (who are 60years+) when I've done everything right in regards to the system sound good to you? It sure as hell doesn't to me. It's best for me to stay put until all of this has blown over. In fact forget I'm from the Commonwealth, it doesn't matter who you are or where you are from we are all in this together. COVID-19 has affected each and every one of us. It's time we all pull together, help each other out, be kind and consider as many people as possible to pull through the other side.