Ardern takes aim at Aust visa changes

Australia has effectively told thousands of out-of-work New Zealanders “it’s time to go home”. (Photo: AAP)

05 April 2020

Ben McKay – Canberra Times AAP

A cheesed-off Jacinda Ardern has taken aim at Australia’s new ruling on temporary visa holders after acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge effectively told thousands of out-of-work New Zealanders “it’s time to go home”.

The Australian government introduced new advice to the 2.17 million people in Australia on temporary visas on Saturday, which includes 672,000 people on the New Zealand-specific 444 visa.

Many of those Kiwis will have access to Centrelink benefits or to the Australian government’s JobKeeper scheme.

But others in casual, insecure work or without jobs find themselves without support and have been asked to leave by Mr Tudge.

Ms Ardern suspects that will be “a wide number” given the impact of coronavirus on the economy, and has urged her Australian counterparts, once again, to better support New Zealand citizens living in Australia.

“What (Mr Tudge would) do well to remember is that if they wish for Australia to be in a position to gear up in the aftermath of the outbreak, they now need a workforce to do that,” she said from Wellington. “New Zealanders make up that workforce.

“They, on average, earn more and pay more taxes than others. They are a key part of the Australian economy and I would have thought they wouldn’t want to be so quick to lose them.”

Australian Associated Press

[Read the full Canberra Times article].

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