One of the terrible side-effects of Covid-19 is being felt around Australia now - people losing their jobs. This is hard for Australian citizens and permanent residents, but is even harder for migrants who don't have access to Centrelink and can depend on their jobs for a chance at permanent residency.
So what do you do if you're worried about losing your job, or have just had redundancy converations with your employer? This is especially tricky for 482 TSS visa holders where your visa requires you to work and for a certain employer in a certain job. We know that this would be a very stressful time for you. Whilst we cannot give you a silver bullet to solve the problem completely, here are a 3 suggestions from our principal migration agent, Tony, and our HR Manager, Lana, that would hopefully be of some help.
#1: 'Freeze' your employment requirements
The 482 TSS visa comes with a 8107 Work Limitation which requires visa holders to maintain employment according to the approved nomination in order for their 482 visa not to be cancelled.
Unfortunately, if you're on a 482 TSS visa and your current sponsor is no longer able to pay your wages, you can't work for another employer during this time (unless that new employer is willing to go through the application process and become your new 482 sponsor).
If you happen to be in redundancy conversations, here's our recommendation: To prevent your visa from being cancelled, you should contact your employer and formally request for unpaid leave during this period so you can keep your employment. Under normal circumstances, your unpaid leave should not be for more than 3 months to avoid making your sponsor breach their obligations. However, under the current COVID-19 circumstance, it is unlikely that this would lead to a breach of obligations.
This solution will help ensure that you can keep your visa even in a situation where they are unable to pay your salary.
Note that any periods of unpaid leave will not count towards the 3-year employment requirement for the Temporary Residence Transition stream of the 186 visa.
#2: Transition from full-time to part-time work
Under normal circumstances, 482 visas require the applicant to be employed full-time. Part-time work may be permitted if there are significant reasons such as this one. Therefore, in light of these strenous circumstances, the sponsor is unlikely to be found to be in breach of their obligations if they reduce your working hours to part-time.
Having said that, any reductions in working hours still need to have the following considered:
the pro-rata hourly rate of your approved nominated salary does not decrease
your role and duties remain consistent with the nominated position
you're not employed under a Labour Agreement which was restricted to full-time arrangements only
this arrangement is mutually agreed upon by yourself and the sponsor. Sponsors should maintain written evidence to demonstrate this agreement, and document the reason for the change.
If you are in a position where you may be able to keep your job if you transitioned to a part-time position, please contact us today at email@example.com and we can assess your situation and advise further.
#3: Help your employer understand grants they could be eligible for
If your employer can have an injection of funds, they could be in a better position to keep your position. It is likely a very stressful time for your employer too, so taking some time to read this for them and help them understand what they could be eligible for could help them help you. This is a bit of an alternative suggestion, but often in life it pays to be the wind and not the flag, try to do everything you can to influence your situation where possible. Whether you are worried about potentially losing your job, or have already had redundancy conversations with your employer, it's worth giving this option a try. You don't really have anything to lose.
The Treasury's website has a specific section for business owners, including all the announced stimulus packages and the JobKeeper payment just announced yesterday: https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/businesses
Also take a look at their state and local government websites, as there are also different grants available at state and regional level.
We sincerely wish everyone luck during this difficult time. Please feel free to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org should you have any questions!