Temporary visa holders who have been living and working in Australia for more than a year are now allowed to withdraw up to $10,000 from their superannuation funds.

The decision was announced by the Australian Immigration Minister Alan Tudge, as part of a series of new measures to help residents who are financially affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

“In line with changes being made for Australian citizens and permanent residents, most temporary visa holders with work rights will now be able to access their Australian superannuation to help support themselves during this crisis,” Tudge said.

Australian citizens and permanent residents, as well as New Zealanders with Australian superannuations, were already given the chance to access their funds amid the COVID-19 crisis.

International students with working rights who have been in Australia for longer than a year can also get early access to their supers. Normally, they would have been able to access it only upon departure from the country.

International students are also allowed to work longer hours starting from May in places like elderly care facilities and supermarkets. More than 20,000 international nursing students in Australia will be able to work 40 hours in a fortnight, so they may help in coping with the outbreak of the pandemic.

However, even though the Australian government has offered help to current residents with working rights, temporary visa holders who have lost their jobs were advised to return to their home countries.

The latest claim was met with criticism by NZ PM Jacinda Ardern who thought that Australia should do more to help their temporary residents, a majority of whom are New Zealanders.

Tourists and anyone with a working holiday or backpacker visa who won’t be able to sustain themselves for the next six months were also advised to leave “as soon as possible”.

Because of the coronavirus outbreak, around 2.4 million visa holders in Australia may have to extend their visas.

As part of their measures in dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak, Australia closed the internal borders of its states – residents will not be able to move from one state to the other for the time being.

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