Covid-19 coronavirus: New Zealanders living in Australia able to access payments

Here I have outlined what is the Australian JobKeeper payment, Employees Eligible for JobSeeker, Employers Eligible for JobSeeker, the payment process, payment timing, how to apply, the Australia Government Coronavirus information and support website for businesses and information from the NZ Hearld Article, where I first found out about JobKeeper. Also where to get help if you have returned to New Zealand.

If you were employed on the 1st of March 2020, you will need to talk to your employer regarding the below, as it is them who need to apply.

Australia Borders closed

Currently Australia’s borders are closed. Only Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members can travel to Australia.

You can see if you are eligible to enter Australia on the Australia Government Department of Home Affairs website: https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/coming-australia.

If you are eligible you may need to undergo enhanced health screening on arrival in Australia and then all arrivals will be quarantined for 14 days and state and territory travel restrictions may also apply.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for international travellers: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-international-travellers.

JobKeeper Payment for employers and employees

Under the JobKeeper Payment, businesses impacted by the coronavirus will be able to access a Government subsidy to continue paying their employees. Employers affected will be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee from the 30 March 2020, for a maximum period of 6 months. Please note this is able to get back dated to the 30th March.

This assistance will help businesses to keep people in their jobs and re-start when the Covid-19 crisis is over. For employees, it means they can keep their job and earn an income, even if their hours have been cut.

The JobKeeper Payment is a temporary scheme open to businesses in Australia impacted by the coronavirus. The JobKeeper Payment will also be available to the New Zealanders self-employed in Australia.

The Government will provide $1,500 per fortnight per employee for up to 6 months.

The JobKeeper Payment will support employers to maintain their connection to their employees. This will enable business to reactivate their operations quickly, without having to rehire staff, when the crisis is over.

Australian Employees Eligible for JobSeeker

Eligible employees are employees who:

  • are currently employed by the eligible employer (including those stood down or re-hired)
  • were employed by the employer at 1 March 2020
  • are full-time, part-time, or long-term casuals (a casual employed on a regular basis for longer than 12 months as at 1 March 2020)
  • are at least 16 years of age
  • are an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, a Protected Special Category Visa Holder, a non-protected Special Category Visa Holder who has been residing continually in Australia for 10 years or more, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder
  • are not in receipt of a JobKeeper Payment from another employer

If your employees receive the JobKeeper Payment, this may affect their eligibility for payments from Services Australia as they must report their JobKeeper Payment as income.

Above information from this Government Australia website: https://www.business.gov.au/risk-management/emergency-management/coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business/jobkeeper-payment.

Treasury fact sheet for employees: https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Fact_sheet_Info_for_Employees.pdf.

Australian Employers Eligible for JobSeeker

Employers will be eligible for the subsidy if:

  • their business has a turnover of less than $1 billion and their turnover has fallen by more than 30 per cent (of at least a month); or
  • their business has a turnover of $1 billion or more and their turnover has fallen by more than 50 per cent (of at least a month); and
  • the business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy.

Read more about the eligibility of employers here on the Australia Government website: https://www.business.gov.au/risk-management/emergency-management/coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business/jobkeeper-payment.

JobSeeker Payment Process

Eligible employers will be paid $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee. Eligible employees will receive, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax, and employers are able to top-up the payment.

Where employers participate in the scheme, their employees will receive this payment as follows.

  • If an employee ordinarily receives $1,500 or more in income per fortnight before tax, they will continue to receive their regular income according to their prevailing workplace arrangements. The JobKeeper Payment will assist their employer to continue operating by subsidising all or part of the income of their employee(s).
  • If an employee ordinarily receives less than $1,500 in income per fortnight before tax, their employer must pay their employee, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax.
  • If an employee has been stood down, their employer must pay their employee, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax.
  • If an employee was employed on 1 March 2020, subsequently ceased employment with their employer, and then has been re-engaged by the same eligible employer, the employee will receive, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax.
  • It will be up to the employer if they want to pay superannuation on any additional wage paid because of the JobKeeper Payment.

Payments will be made to the employer monthly in arrears by the ATO.

Payment Timing

The subsidy will start on 30 March 2020, with the first payments to be received by employers in the first week of May. Businesses will be able to register their interest in participating in the Payment from 30 March 2020 on the ATO website.

How to Apply for JobKeeper

Currently, employers can register their interest in applying for the JobKeeper Payment via The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) from 30 March 2020.

Subsequently, eligible employers will be able to apply for the scheme by means of an online application. The first payment will be received by employers from the ATO in the first week of May.

Read more here: https://www.business.gov.au/risk-management/emergency-management/coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business/jobkeeper-payment.

To read examples of what the JobKeeper payments look like read this: https://www.business.gov.au/risk-management/emergency-management/coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business/jobkeeper-payment.

Australia Government Coronavirus information and support for businesses

COVID-19 update: The Australia Government has announced a JobKeeper Payment for employers, employees and sole traders. You can find this information and stay up-to-date on the latest support for business on their coronavirus page: https://www.business.gov.au/risk-management/emergency-management/coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business/~/link.aspx?_id=94034B42D77347C68B6E29D80EDEA7CA&_z=z.

Recently returned to NZ from Australia because of COVID-19?

If you have already returned to New Zealand because of COVID-19, then you need to read the New Zealand Government website COVID-19: https://covid19.govt.nz/.

This website has everything you need to know about COVID-19 in one place. Learn the simple steps you can take to unite against the virus and slow its spread. Find out what help is available and get the latest updates: https://covid19.govt.nz/.

Here is some of the information from the NZ Hearld Article

New Zealanders living in Australia on a Special Category visa (SCV/444 visas) will be able to access the AU$1,500 fortnightly payments, the Australian government has confirmed.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had spoken with Jacinda Ardern about the arrangement.

Thousands of New Zealanders were forced to leave Australia after finding they were unable to access Centrelink payments after they had lost their jobs.

The SCV/444 visa is a temporary visa allows you to visit, study, stay and work as long as you remain a New Zealand citizen. It is applied for when you arrive in Australia submit your completed incoming passenger card with your New Zealand passport.

The changes were announced yesterady, as part of a new government package to aide those affected by Covid-19 in Australia.

Scott Morrison has pledged AU$130 billion over the next six months to help Australians who have found themselves out of work.

He said the AU$130 billion was to “support the jobs and livelihoods of the almost six million Australians who will need that lifeline in the months ahead”.

The Australian government is also introducing a AU$1,500 “Job Keeper” payment that New Zealanders on SCV/444 visas will be eligible for. Businesses will be paid up to AU$1,500 a fortnight for the next six months per employee.

The payment is a flat rate of AU$1,500 regardless of how much their normal wages are.

Earlier on Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she had spoken to Australia’s PM Scott Morrison that morning and had again pushed the case for New Zealanders to be covered by any job scheme (https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/120535935/coronavirus-jacinda-ardern-pleads-with-australia-to-help-kiwis-laid-off-during-economic-crisis).

“It is a group I am concerned about. I have seen ongoing reporting of some of the issues that they’re facing, and I see this as a unique situation. For me, this is a particular set of circumstances that I’m very keen to find a way to address.”

Last week she had criticised the decision to leave New Zealanders out of some Covid-19 support packages, because New Zealanders do not get welfare benefits in Australia unless they have become citizens. Australians do get those benefits in New Zealand, and Australian workers here are also covered by the Covid-19 specific support measures.

“If anyone falls on a hard time, it’s the same hard time,” Scott Morrison said. “We are all in this together, that’s what’s fair, that’s what’s Australian.”

Scott Morrison said the Job Keeper payment is to “to keep Australians in their jobs even when the work dries up”.

According to Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, the payments would also be available to part-time workers, sole traders and casuals who have been with their employer for 12 months or more. Payments will start from the first week of May but will be backdated to yesterday. Employees stood down since March 1 will be eligible.

Ardern has responded to the news Kiwis are included in Australia’s wage subsidy scheme, saying she had pleaded New Zealand’s case several times. “New Zealanders are a core part of the Australian workforce. Many are working in essential services. Others have built their careers in Australia and paid taxes for years, so it’s really pleasing the Australia Government has agreed to provide them a wage subsidy.

“We need to unite and look after everyone to beat Covid-19 and Prime Minister Morrison and I are in regular contact about our respective efforts to beat the virus and support our people.”

Read more: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=12321030.

Tran-Tasman Bubble

Trans-Tasman bubble possible at alert level 2, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reveals.

The tourism industry is pushing hard to have a working strategy in place by the end of the May, getting ready for when the Government opens the borders in a Trans-Tasman bubble.

Read more: https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/trans-tasman-bubble/.

26 Comments

  1. Petrina Maxwell

    May 18, 2020 at 3:53 am

    Hi,

    We started the process of moving to Australia however Covid-19 hit and we were in limbo so had to return to NZ. We are itching to come back asap (as my child is enrolled and has been doing remote learning from his Aussie school) and wondering if we are prepared to self isolate for 14 x days can we arrive in Australia at any time?

    Also if we come with $ allocated for our setup do you know if we could secure a rental house without a job but we can pay the rent of course…and would be happy to pay 3 months etc in advance..

    Thanks for your help

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      May 25, 2020 at 2:41 am

      Hi Petrina,
      Thank you for your comment. Sorry for the delay in replying.
      At this stage you can’t fly to Australia because our borders are closed, as are theirs. However, once the Trans-Tasman bubble opens you will be able to move.
      Here is the post I wrote after receiving your comment – https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/trans-tasman-bubble/.
      Regarding securing a rental property, this is a hard one to answer. I believe if you can prove you have the savings to pay the rent this should be acceptable, especially since landlords are struggling to fill vacant properties. However, landlords would be put off by the high unemployment rate, if you don’t have employment. Offering to pay three months in advance would go a long way.
      Make sure you register with either XE or OFX to transfer your money to Australia, as they will save hundreds to thousands with rates that the banks will never match – https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/foreign-exchange-money-transfer/.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move, when you can move.

      Reply
  2. S F M

    April 26, 2020 at 5:11 am

    Hello everyone,

    Just thought to add our experience lately in this whole recent COVID-19 environment and our continuing journey in Australia.
    My family and i have now lived, worked and been part of the Melbourne community now coming up to 10 years in June,July respectively as my partner and i arrived; migrated into the country on different dates since 2010. I have always been employed in the corporate world and now own and run my private commercial entities. Sole Trader and Companies alike here in Aus and NZ.

    I am one of those kiwis who arrived after 2001 threshold, have never really thought or relied too much on the social welfare system (i.e Centrelink or DHS ) as always been self sufficient and proud to be support my family financially. My partner has always been employed in the Home Care Support Agency system which is now known as NDIS, however the turn of events with this COVID-19 situation has seen a decline in her income and hours for the moment temporarily. In the once only time we have been here, we decided to apply for and claim a benefit outside of FTB (family tax benefit for the kids) i.e. JobSeeker and to their (Centrelink) credit they advised it was rejected due to not being here for 10 years with NZ citizenship standing visa 444 ?

    The reason we are writing this is to remind everyone in this context and community of kiwis living since 2001 in Australia to do there homework and research on assistance in this country, especially when things go pear shape and you cannot support yourself financially. That is when you really discover the truth of your individual and unique situation.

    Notwithstanding this challenge for some individuals or families, it’s still a great and wonderful country to be a part of, moreso looking at the future of our children and the opportunities through sport, education and many other avenues that will present themselves in due course.

    Hope that helps.

    Reply
  3. Rebecca

    April 3, 2020 at 3:27 am

    Hi, I’m wondering if my partner is eligible for that government fortnightly payment, as he was working fulltime, as of 2nd March, but left his job on the 7th March, to go back to NZ for a week, when he flew back in he had to do the 14 day isolation, he is currently job hunting. Is he eligible or no? Thanks Rebecca

    Reply
  4. Russel and Pasi

    April 2, 2020 at 2:16 am

    Both my wife and myself are Kiwi’s currently residing on the Sunshine Coast. We sell mangoes over the Summer period but are not currently earning. Would we qualify under 444 Visa, if so, what is required to get the Visa so that we can apply for the $1500 funding? And is that $1500 for each person, combined $3000 for a married couple?
    Thank you so much for all your help.
    Kindest
    Russel and Pasi

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      April 2, 2020 at 2:17 am

      Hi Russel,
      Thanks for your comment.
      Unfortunately I can not answer your question. You will need to contact the ATO.
      I have updated the above Covid-19 page with more information, including info for employers.
      The JobKeeper is AU$1,500 per person.
      Good luck and keep safe.

      Reply
  5. Michael

    March 31, 2020 at 3:05 pm

    You should mention that you’re only eligible for jobkeepers if you were employed for 12 months or more..

    Reply
  6. Gail

    March 30, 2020 at 11:56 pm

    Hello, I am a Kiwi and was working in Australia on fixed term contract. When borders started to close I requested to my employer if I could return to NZ to be with my family and continue my work. They agreed and a plan was put in place to work from home in NZ. Two days after arriving home and being in self isolation I might add, I received notification that they would need to put me on leave without pay due to circumstances changing. I am now back in NZ with no income. Am I able to qualify for anything?

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      April 2, 2020 at 2:53 am

      Hi Gail,
      Thanks for your comment.
      The good news is you will be able to access help from somewhere.
      I have updated my above Covid-19 page with more information and avice since your comment yesterday. So please re-read: https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/covid-19-help-for-new-zealanders-living-in-australia/.
      Were you employed on the 1st of March by your Australian employer? If you were, then you should be eligible for JobKeeper in Australia. This would most beneficial for you if you would like to and/or be able to continue working for your employer after Covid-19 settles down. The payment is for AU$1,500 per fortnight for six months. If yes, then you will need to talk to your employer regarding JobKeeper, as it is them who need to apply.
      Regarding COVID-19 in NZ, the New Zealand Government website COVID-19 has everything you need to know, including what help is available: https://covid19.govt.nz/.
      Good luck and stay safe.
      Thanks,
      Johanna Smith

      Reply
      • Gail

        April 3, 2020 at 12:34 am

        Hi Johanna
        Thank you for your response.
        Yes I was employed on the 1st of March. Also good news by employer has been in touch to say that they have applied for the JobKeeper and will be in touch with me soon.
        Regards
        Gail

        Reply
  7. Marius & Brenda

    March 30, 2020 at 11:55 pm

    We arrived in the 16 November 2019 and not sure if we do apply on this 444 visa they have done face recognition when we arrived but not sure how it works my husband only work now for nearly 3mnth and he will not get paid if there is a total lockdown I have applied for family assistance in the 16th Jan but still haven’t got a outcome we are so stressed at the moment my daughter is 18 and he hour is nearly nothing and needs assistance as well would you be able to help please

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      March 30, 2020 at 11:59 pm

      Hi Marius and Brenda,
      Thank you for your question.
      If you did not apply for a visa before you left NZ then you will be on the automatically granted SCV/444 visa.
      Unfortunately this is an incredible stressful time for everyone.
      You are going to have to call Centerlink and get advice from them, as from the article it looks like you would need to have worked in Australia for over 12 months:
      ‘According to Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, the payments would also be available to part-time workers, sole traders and casuals who have been with their employer for 12 months or more.’
      All the rules etc are continuously evolving and things are changing daily.
      Keep an eye on https://www.news.com.au/ and I will post anything else I find on https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/ and my FaceBook page: https://www.facebook.com/movingtoaustraliafromNewZealand/.
      Good luck and keep safe.

      Reply
      • Brenda

        April 2, 2020 at 2:57 am

        Thank you for your reply o my word so we are in a negative side of this goverment it feels like we made a big mistake thinking it will be good here would rather go back.
        Thank you so much.
        I am not sure if they will give me info on behalf as my hubby work still and only me can phone.
        Kind regards,
        Brenda

        Reply
  8. Ed

    March 30, 2020 at 11:44 pm

    Hi there
    I have taken a new job in Melbourne and was due to arrive May 3rd. I have a 3 month notice period in nz and am well into that. As you can imagine the timing sucks a little and I am not sure if I can get into Australia as I am not yet a resident. Will the job contract be sufficient? Any guidance on where to go for help would be much appreciated.
    Ed

    Reply
  9. Sarah

    March 30, 2020 at 11:18 pm

    Hi,
    I received your email regarding a support payment of $1500 for employed kiwis in Aus during corona. My partner moved here in December and has been working since February with a company as a sole trader. What will he qualify for?

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      March 30, 2020 at 11:27 pm

      Hi Sarah,
      Thanks for your comment.
      You are going to have to call Centerlink and get advice from them, as from the article it looks like you would need to have worked in Australia for over 12 months:
      ‘According to Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, the payments would also be available to part-time workers, sole traders and casuals who have been with their employer for 12 months or more.’
      BTW… this is still evolving so more information may come out in the next couple of days.
      I would keep an eye on https://www.news.com.au/ and I will post anything else I find on this site and my FaceBook page: https://www.facebook.com/movingtoaustraliafromNewZealand/.
      Good luck and keep safe.

      Reply
      • Sarah

        April 2, 2020 at 2:11 am

        I called this morning and they said that it hasn’t even been passed yet so it’s not guaranteed yet.
        Do you know if he qualifies for any assistance from the NZ side?

        Reply
        • JJ Smith

          April 2, 2020 at 2:11 am

          Hi Sarah,
          I have updated my Covid-19 page with more info: https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/covid-19-help-for-new-zealanders-living-in-australia/.
          You don’t need to have been employed for 12 months or more, you just need to have been employed on the 1st of March. If you were employed on the 1st of March 2020, you will need to talk to your employer regarding JobKeeper, as it is them who need to apply.
          I don’t know of any NZ Government support for New Zealanders living in Australia.
          Good luck and stay safe.

          Reply
  10. Naina

    March 30, 2020 at 11:17 pm

    Hi there,
    I would like to seek clarification on $1,500 per fortnight, is this only for job keeper to employer or to those who has been cut down in hours and days of work, can get paid through Centrelink ???

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      March 30, 2020 at 11:27 pm

      Hi Naina,
      Thanks for your comment.
      You are going to have to call Centerlink and get advice from them as the article in the NZ Hearld didn’t have any info on those who have been cut back.
      BTW… this is still evolving so more information may come out in the next couple of days.
      I would keep an eye on https://www.news.com.au/ and I will post anything else I find on this site and my FaceBook page: https://www.facebook.com/movingtoaustraliafromNewZealand/.
      Good luck and keep safe.

      Reply

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