The Tasmanian Government has announced a financial support package for visa holders. The 3 million package will be extended to approximately 26,000 temporary visa holders in the state, with individuals set to receive $250 and families $1000.

Visa holders who can demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic will be eligible for Pandemic Isolation Assistance Grants.

Those who are able to return to their home countries will receive support to do so.

The package will be rolled out in four stages, beginning today. Temporary visa holders will receive the Pandemic Isolation Assistance Grants immediately under the first stage.

The second stage will see additional emergency relief funds allocated to non-governmental organisations so they can provide further assistance  to temporary visa holders where required.

The third stage will target temporary workers who are able to return home. The state will work with those who can get home safely with travel advice and, on a case-by-case basis, assist with financial support to do so should genuine financial hardship be proven.

The government will also work with industry sectors or employers who want to retain visa holders with specialist skills. As such, the fourth stage of the roll out will provide additional support in partnership with employers.

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein said it was “only fair” to support workers who had contributed to the state’s diversity and economy. Mr Gutwein specifically called out those in the hospitality industry, as well as fruit pickers and students.

“It’s important we support these people who’ve been working in our community earning an income and this package will take the steps necessary to do that,” he said. “I don’t agree with the simple message that temporary visa holders should just go home. In many cases they can’t.”

Image: The Examiner

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