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HomeIssue 22Workers on visas in trouble as businesses close

Workers on visas in trouble as businesses close

Red Cross has received more than 50 requests for financial help from Alice Springs residents travelling on temporary visas in the fallout of COVID-19, says Laurel Duffell, a spokesperson for the organisation.
“We’re getting a pretty steady flow of people applying,” she says.
“A lot of people have been stood down in the hospitality and tourism sector. International students are also applying for help.
“We are becoming more aware of the emerging needs in this target group as the business shutdown continues.”
Ms Duffell (pictured) says the financial support Red Cross can offer comes in the form of a one off, customised payment that aims to supply visa holders with food and immediate expenses.
So far Red Cross has received approximately 1000 applications for help in the Northern Territory alone.
People visiting Australia who have been unable to leave have been left out from any direct aid from the Federal Government.
The payment program appears on the Workers and Wellbeing Fund page on the NT government website, but is “complimentary to initiatives already announced by the Northern Territory and Australian Governments.”
Ms Duffell says that Red Cross is using “government direction” to help guide their support.
Red Cross is working with the Melaleauca Refugee Centre on the project.
While Ms Duffell could not disclose dollar and cent amounts that the Red Cross is providing, she says that it varies from situation to situation, and that it is all about “looking at people’s immediate needs such as food, medicine or shelter”.
Individuals applying for financial help must be able to prove their hardship and provide a handful of other documents that help inform Red Cross the amount of support they require.
Some people have already received their payment.
Ms Duffell says that there is a system that dictates that individuals who need medical attention, have children or may be in danger will be prioritised.
However Red Cross is working as quickly as they can and is also keen to help “direct people” to other key supports they may need “whether that be mental health support, government assistance or other localised services”.


  1. When I was in Singapore about 10 years ago I had a SingPass to work in Singapore for 12 months, my sector at that time was in oil production.
    The oil industry at that time was depressed, I received a letter from the Singaporean Government deeming me an alien because they wanted Singaporeans to be employed and not aliens and advised I had 30 days to leave. I was only there for four months.
    If I did not leave I would be imprisoned until I could pay for my flight back to the UK.
    Australia is very generous but the law must be adhered to.
    For Temporary Visa holders you need to have enough money that is genuinely available to you to pay for your travel and living costs for you and your accompanying family members while you are in Australia.
    That means at the end of the day it is best to go back to your home country as if you are found not in accordance with your obligations it will make a future visa difficult to obtain, especially with COVID-19 restrictions that will now dictate travel.
    I would go home as soon as possible to avoid a bad record.

  2. @ Best to go home, Future Visas Depends On it: This is the best advice you will have if you are on a Temporary Visa especially for HIGH RISK countries.
    In my roles in the US over the years I have seen the collation of international travellers information used to stop Visas being granted.
    In other words, most countries both developed and high risk countries share visa violations and other information.
    When a Visa is being assessed a red flag appears on the assessor’s screen to stop the visa being granted if there is any question.
    Even little misdemeanours are recorded. This Coronavirus will end many Temporary Visas simply because they did not go home in the prescribed time announced by the Government in that country.
    Then you must wait a penalty waiting time which according to each country’s policy can be months to years.
    This pandemic is going to make it tough for countries like New Zealand who act as a back door to Australia mainly and other countries.
    The crackdown from Corona will be felt for years. Good advice, get back to your home country as soon as is possible and avoid the red tape later.


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