Indian Workers & Students Brace for Impact as Australia Plans to Scraps Covid Visa

The Australian government's decision to scrap the Subclass 408 visa, commonly known as the Covid work visa, has left Indian students and temporary workers in a state of uncertainty. With impending changes to working hour limits and visa eligibility, they now face the daunting task of finding alternative pathways to continue their stay in Australia.
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The Australian government’s decision to abolish the Subclass 408 visa, commonly known as the Covid work visa, is expected to have significant repercussions for a substantial number of Indian students and temporary workers currently residing in the country, according to a recent media report.

Impending Visa Termination Raises Concerns

Subclass 408, also referred to as the Temporary Activity visa, allows individuals to work in Australia if they have employment or a job offer in a crucial industry.

However, the government is now contemplating the visa’s continued viability, considering the possibility of closing eligibility and returning to regular operations, as conveyed by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to SBS, a multicultural and multilingual broadcaster in Australia.

Restrictions on Working Hours for Foreign Students

This development coincides with the Australian government’s introduction of a new restriction on working hours for foreign students, set to take effect from July 1.

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Under the revised regulations, foreign students will be limited to working a maximum of 48 hours per fortnight, thereby diminishing their income potential.

Previously, the Covid work visa granted students the freedom to work unlimited hours. Notably, students employed in the aged care sector will be exempted from this restriction until December 31.

Concerns Raised by Migration Experts

Suman Dua, a migration expert, expressed concerns about the repercussions of this visa termination, particularly for international students. Dua explained to SBS that affected individuals would need to explore alternative visa options, which would entail additional costs compared to the previously free Covid work visa.

Background on the Covid Work Visa

Initially introduced to support foreign students stranded in Australia due to Covid-related border closures, the Covid work visa allowed students to extend their stay in the country for an additional 12 months if their original visas had expired.

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In March 2022, the DHA announced the extension of the Covid work visa, as part of the government’s strategy to revive the Australian economy, which had been severely impacted by the pandemic.

Exploring Alternative Pathways

To address the persistent labour shortage, the DHA implemented a more flexible policy concerning visa condition 8107, which pertains to work limitations for Subclass 408 visa holders.

However, with the imminent removal of the Covid work visa, affected individuals will need to explore other potential pathways, either through permanent or temporary visas, to continue their stay in Australia.

The DHA also emphasized that there are several options available to pandemic event visa holders to remain in the country.

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Uncertainty for the Indian Community in Australia

As the Australian government prepares to eliminate the Covid work visa, the Indian community in Australia, especially students and temporary workers, faces uncertainty and the need to navigate alternative visa routes.

This decision will not only impact their immediate financial circumstances but also the overall landscape of international students and temporary workers in the country.

Conclusion

In summary, the impending termination of the Subclass 408 visa, or Covid work visa, in Australia has created concerns among Indian students and temporary workers. With restrictions on working hours for foreign students and the need to explore alternative visa options, the Indian community in Australia is now faced with uncertainty and the need to adapt to changing circumstances.

The impact of this decision will be felt not only by those directly affected but also by the broader international student and temporary worker community in the country.

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Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a travel-tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the travel industry. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Travelobiz.com, he's passionate about writing.

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