As if We Weren't Humans: The Abandonment of Temporary Migrants in Australia during COVID-19
68 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2020
University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Law
University of New South Wales (UNSW)
Date Written: October 11, 2020
In March 2020, nationwide lockdowns to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Australia caused widespread job loss among temporary visa holders. This had a devastating financial impact on these workers, including international students, backpackers, graduates, sponsored workers and refugees, leaving many unable to meet their basic living needs such as food and rent. However, unlike some other similar Western countries, the Australian government excluded temporary migrants from wage subsidies and almost all other forms of financial support.
This report assesses the humanitarian impact of government policies related to COVID-19 on the hundreds of thousands of temporary migrants who remained in Australia. It presents findings from a survey conducted in July 2020 of over 6,100 temporary visa holders on their experiences of financial insecurity, precarious housing and homelessness, humanitarian need, racism and social exclusion, as well as their attitudes on their time in Australia. In doing so, it seeks to establish a platform for temporary migrants to voice their experiences and establish current large-scale first-hand empirical data to inform government decision-making.
Keywords: migrant workers, international students, COVID-19, human rights, Australia
JEL Classification: K37, K31, K33, L31, L38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation