No safety net for many New Zealanders who call Australia home

Hotel closed, Covid-19
With many businesses, such as this hotel in WA, closed by coronavirus, the unemployment rate has soared. (Photo: Paul Kane/Getty Images)

28 March 2020

Denham Sadler – The Guardian

An estimated 650,000 New Zealanders live and work in Australia on the Special Category Visa, but are ineligible for nearly all forms of welfare, including sickness allowance and the JobSeeker payment, as well as the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Those who have lost work and are facing financial hardship due to Covid-19 are ineligible for the JobSeeker allowance, and have found it virtually impossible to return to New Zealand. Even if they did, they would have to quarantine for two weeks and then go into the full lockdown that has been imposed around the country.

Labor has called on the government to temporarily extend the JobSeeker payment to New Zealanders currently in Australia on the special category, with shadow human services minister Linda Burney writing to social services Minister Anne Ruston last week.

“We can’t let people in our country fall through the cracks, we need to support New Zealanders and other temporary migrants who contribute so much to Australia and will need support during the Covid-19 crisis,” the shadow minister assisting for immigration and citizenship, Andrew Giles, said.

Ruston now has the power to extend these payments to temporary visa holders without the need for new legislation, and has signalled that the government is mulling whether to do so.

[Read the full Guardian article].

Comments are closed.