Refugee Council of Australia
Agricultural workers with caps bending over to pick in green field

Submission to the inquiry into the working holiday maker program



Recommendation 1

RCOA recommends that permanent visas are available to all refugees on a SHEV or TPV who meet the SHEV pathway. This can be achieved by modifying the criteria of existing permanent skilled visas.

Recommendation 2

RCOA recommends that the SHEV pathway be modified to reduce the amount of time that refugees need to work or study down to one year (12 months cumulative), to recognise the impact of COVID-19 on the Australian economy in the coming months and years.

Recommendation 3

RCOA recommends modifying the SHEV pathway to allow refugees to meet the pathway requirement by working in a designated and/or critical sector or industry impacted by COVID-19, regardless of the location of employment. Critical sectors and industries affected by and likely to experience labour shortfalls due to COVID-19 and international border closures, should be deemed ‘designated SHEV industries’ for the revised SHEV pathway. This will enable refugees not only to meet the SHEV pathway by working in regional areas, but also by working in designated industries which have chronic labour shortages or are critical sectors. SHEV industries should be designated in consultation with industry bodies.

Recommendation 4

RCOA recommends that the Government ensure that family members overseas can be included in subsequent visa applications of SHEV or TPV holders who meet the current SHEV pathway.

Recommendation 5

RCOA recommends that the Australian Government extend eligibility for settlement services to people currently on TPVs and SHEVs in order to support them to move to regional areas and/or obtain work in industries most impacted by COVID-19.

Recommendation 6

RCOA recommends that the Committee note the economic analysis that details the benefits that extending permanency to refugees on temporary visas would have on the Australian economy in the short- and long-term.

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