COVID-19: Australia Considers Giving Centrelink Payments to Foreign Workers

Mar 24, 2020

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston used her special powers granted by the COVID-19 crisis to expand the social aids granted to Australian residents and citizens who become unemployed to full-time students.

"Many students, particularly those who support themselves, do odd jobs to pay for their studies," the minister told journalists in Canberra.

"These people - for example, people from the regions that go to the city to study to become doctors, nurses and teachers - are forced to depend on their own income to support themselves during their studies, while the government grants them study grants, he added.

But immigrant rights advocates and international students are calling on the government to extend this aid to young foreigners who have lost their jobs and are still studying in Australia.

On the other hand, Senator Ruston said that she was also analyzing all visa categories to see if there are foreign workers who should be given social assistance.

The government has already indicated that people who are waiting to obtain citizenship will be exempt from waiting periods to receive social assistance so that they can access the same benefits as unemployed Australians.

Australian Council on Social Services Director Cassandra Goldie said the organization will also continue to advocate for others who need support, such as asylum seekers, people with disabilities and their caregivers.

"Current events underscore how important it is to all of us that we have a strong, secure and adequate social safety net for all, and that the government provide adequate resources so that it can respond, even in times of crisis."

Parliament agreed on Monday to give the Minister of Social Services special powers to make changes to social benefits without the need for parliamentary approval until the end of the year.

Ruston is also considering using that power to change the rate that calculates what proportion of social assistance payments a person can receive if they receive income, as is the case with couples.

For his part, opposition leader Anthony Albanese says the Labor Party has reached an agreement with the government to raise the upper-income threshold from $ 48,000 to $ 75,000.

Albanese said he also expects the government to speed up the delivery of some payments, including the cash given to pensioners, to be paid in two batches of $ 750, one this week and one in July.

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The post about “COVID-19: Australia Considers Giving Centrelink Payments to Foreign Workers" first appeared on the SBS Spanish website.


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