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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.

Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment

The Commonwealth Government has announced a Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment for Victorians who don’t have any income because they must self-isolate or quarantine at home. To learn more and apply, please visit Services Australia.

You can’t get this payment if you already have received the Victorian Government’s Worker Support Payment.

Face masks and coverings

The Department of Health and Human Services website provides information about wearing face masks and coverings.

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.

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.

The Commonwealth Government has made a number of changes to student visa arrangements. These changes include allowing international students to lodge a further student visa application free of charge if they are unable to complete their studies within their original visa validity due to the coronavirus pandemic. For more information, see the Ministers’ media release.

Relief payments for temporary visa holders

Australian Red Cross has received Commonwealth Government funding specifically to support people who are on temporary visas with a small one-off emergency relief payment.

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
  • Medical
  • Allied health (therapies and sciences)
  • Paramedics
  • 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

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
  • the Tourism Accommodation Support Program offers financial support to tourism operators affected by temporary coronavirus lockdowns

On 10 July, the Victorian Government announced the Business Survival Package which includes $534 million to provide more support to businesses and workers. The new package includes additional grants of $5,000 for eligible businesses, as well as support for Victoria’s night time economy and small businesses operating in Melbourne’s CBD. Learn more about the Business Survival Package at Business Victoria.

For the latest information on Victorian Government support for businesses, call the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15 or visit Business Victoria.

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