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Please sir, can we have some doe? The living nightmare of internationals in Australia.

Temporary visa holders and all internationals living in Australia, face up to receiving no hardship; despite having lost their jobs due to a global crisis.

Hey Kiwis, hey little foreign students, thanks for your time (and money), but we can’t have you anymore.

This is the stance of the Australian government during this current crisis. If you are a Kiwi who does not have permanent residency/citizenship, or neither a part-time/full-time job; you can hop on it.

That would mean anyone who is Kiwi and unemployed, and in fact, that would go for anyone who is not Australian and unemployed. Therefore, if you do happen to find yourself in the very likely situation of being foreign, losing your job due to Covid 19, and living in Australia, you might need to re-think again and perhaps book a flight home. Wait a minute..there are no flights. Oh, what a foreign national is to do.

This is quite truly the worst PR for Scott Morrison’s government, who have just ostracised over a million temporary visa holders-not entitled to the Jobseeker payment (apparently), that so many Australians will be claiming.

As The Guardian article explains (@lukehgomes): the jobseeker payment acts as a benefits package-with $1100 scheduled to be paid every two weeks; and will see Australians through the worst of this crisis. Which is far from being over, as the winter approaches.

And as winter approaches, and the need for manually skilled employment increases, Australia just might find itself having cut off a vast majority of its’ workforce, which could have been at the forefront of the salvation. Many temporary visa holders: international students and migrating Kiwis alike will have made up a huge number of service and hospitality jobs (John Ross, Times Higher Education), not to mention, farm work; that the country’s economy relies upon. And yet, despite paying tax; they are being left out.

I was an international student living in Australia not long ago, and if I had not decided to come home when I did; I would have been jobless and destitute. However, not only did I pay the country $2200 every 10 weeks of study for a school that I very doubt is offering relief packages, unlike the mighty university giants of Victoria; I also provided tax.

Do not forget, tax is 15% for working holidaymakers (working tourists) for the 1/2 years they stay, as soon as they earn-not receiving the tax-free threshold residents do. So preceding receiving my school fees, they also received 15% of anything I earned, with the tax office also receiving 65% of my superannuation (pension), despite contributing like anyone else; purely because I was a working holidaymaker.

And yet, they are left with nothing.

It was actually Scott Morrison who made the changes to the tax threshold for working holidaymakers when he was treasurer: getting rid of the right to earn up to $18,200 free of tax. Figures. This person does not seem to have much respect for foreign nationals. Recently, in a question related to temporary residents, he said:

“make your way home” and “ensure that you can receive the supports that are available…in your home countries”.

Further, he said:

“They’re obviously not held here compulsorily”

How educated of him. Obviously, there are no planes out of Australia, and that could mean an issue, and perhaps people may have their lives-in Australia.

When I signed my visa agreement, I signed an invitation into the country as a ‘temporary migrant’. That meant I had actually migrated there and was living under its’ roof, perhaps not long term, but for that time. I think the government is responsible for all those they invite into the country. They cannot have their cake and eat it. They would have not invited us if they did not have a need for it; after all, they have the third-highest international student population in the world.

Australia’s population is only in the low twenties, and over a million are temporary migrants. We prop up their economy; not forgetting the fact that we are all largely young and all very able to work. Not least with the education and training that is paving the way for the current and next generation. We are adding to the economy. Many international students go on to stay permanently in Australia.

I was expected to make the same contributions like everyone else, and therefore anyone in my not so long ago situation, deserves the help, just as much as Australians, and yet all the government say is:

“It’s time to go home and they should make arrangements as quickly as possible.”

(Acting immigration minister Alan Tudge on 4th April, Times Higher Education, April 6th, 2020)

This is all a far cry from how governments are treating Australians themselves, in Canada and New Zealand-with hardship available.

(John Ross, Times Higher Education)

Yet, even if internationals did make their way home, they would not necessarily be entitled to anything. In the UK, benefits can take up to five weeks to process and are subject to a residency test: whereby your likelihood of residing in the country long term is scrutinised. I doubt a bunch of students, having been discarded by Australia will feel too welcome in the British welfare system. There is nothing to say they would not return to Australia to finish their studies if they even want to at this point.

For who even knows when study and the congregation of souls will ever be able to return, and most certainly; when it does-will internationals even want to reside in a country, that is not prepared to offer a hand. This is something Scott Morrison should think about very clearly-will they even have a higher education system by the end of this? Perhaps not so with the redundancy of those who line their pockets.

And it begs the question: should internationals pay any tax at all if this is how they are treated?

When it questions their human rights and those that choose to abolish them.