A range of government assistance is available to temporary and provisional visa holders impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19). For more information please contact the agency responsible or visit the website listed.
Temporary changes to the Seasonal Worker Programme, Pacific Labour Scheme and the Working Holiday Maker visa program
On 4 April the Commonwealth Government announced changes to visa arrangements that allow workers under the Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme to remain in Australia and continue working for up to 12 months under more flexible conditions. Visit the Department of Home Affairs for more information.
Support for job seekers
The Victorian Government has established the Working for Victoria initiative to help jobseekers find new opportunities. If you have Australian working rights, you are eligible to register. For more information or to register visit Working for Victoria.
Support for renters
There is currently a moratorium on evictions for six months from 29 March 2020, for residential and commercial tenants experiencing financial hardship due to the impact of coronavirus. Visit Consumer Affairs Victoria for more information.
The Victorian Government has also announced rent relief grants for people in Victoria experiencing rental hardship because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. For more information visit HousingVic.
Free childcare is available for workers and families. Visit the Centrelink website for more information.
Support for international students
The Victorian Government has announced a $45 million International Student Emergency Relief Fund for international students facing financial hardship because of coronavirus. For more information or to register, go to Study Melbourne.
City of Melbourne council has partnered with Queen Victoria Market on the 'Our Shout' program to help international students access fresh food and produce during this challenging period. Find out more and submit your application online.
Support for multicultural and multifaith families
The Victorian Government has announced a $11.3 million funding package to support multicultural and multifaith communities through the coronavirus pandemic. The package includes the following support:
- nearly $5 million to support vulnerable and at-risk youths and families in financial hardship who need essential items such as food and clothing
- $2.2 million to provide basic needs assistance to thousands of asylum seekers
- $1.1 million toward culturally appropriate family violence prevention and early intervention services
- $1 million to boost translated messaging across government departments
Relaxation of work hours for international students working in medical and disability sectors
The Commonwealth Government has made changes to student visa work conditions to help boost frontline health efforts. To learn more about changes, visit the Department of Home Affairs website.
Support for public housing and people experiencing homelessness
The Victorian Government is providing $6 million to homelessness organisations to help protect people at risk of homelessness because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health workforce response
The Victorian Government is seeking to boost the Victorian health system talent pool as part of the response to coronavirus (COVID-19). People with drive and experience in the following areas are encouraged to register their interest:
- Nursing and Midwifery
- Allied health (therapies and sciences)
- Patient Services Assistant/Assistant in Nursing
- Student (Medical, Nursing, Midwifery, Paramedicine, Allied Health – therapies and sciences – or other health sciences)
Visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health workforce response for more information or to register your interest.
Hotels for Heroes
The Hotels for Heroes program provides free accommodation in hotels or apartments for frontline workers in healthcare, emergency services, youth justice and other healthcare settings, who need to self-isolate due to coronavirus and cannot safely do this at home. For more information visit https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/health-services-and-general-practitioners-coronavirus-disease-covid-19
Temporary early release of superannuation
Eligible temporary residents are able to apply to access up to $10,000 of their super until 30 June 2020. Visit the ATO website for more information.
Support for businesses
The Victorian Government has announced a $1.7 billion economic survival and jobs package which includes:
- full payroll tax refunds for the 2019-20 financial year to small and medium-sized businesses with a payroll of the less than $3 million
- the same businesses will also be able to defer payment of any payroll tax for the first three months of the 2020/21 financial year until 1 January 2021
- The Working for Victoria initiative, connecting businesses that need staff with people who are looking for work
- A $500 million Business Support Fund to assist the hardest hit sectors. Funding of $10,000 per small business is available and will be allocated through a grant process. Businesses must already employ staff, have a payroll of less than $650,000 and a turnover of more than $75,000. Apply online
- Upskill My Business provides free online courses, live and on-demand events and a range of business resources to help you prepare for a strong recovery
For the latest information on Victorian Government support for businesses, call the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15 or visit Business Victoria.