The NSW Government has announced $4 million dollars in funding to support migrant workers and temporary visa holders in NSW impacted by COVID-19.
The State Government will distribute the funding to specialist migrant and settlement NGOs, and multicultural community organisations who are providing basic support to vulnerable people including domestic violence survivors.
The funding grants are split into two streams. Stream one provides $2 million in funding to support organisations to give direct emergency relief to vulnerable temporary visa holders who are not eligible for Commonwealth Government income support during COVID-19.
An additional $2 million funding stream is available for organisations to support service delivery through:
culturally specific community support workers
outreach transport costs for disconnected/isolated communities
interpreting and translation services
Asylum seekers and international students are excluded from this funding as they have been covered in previous funding measures.
RLC welcomed the announcement, saying it will provide much-needed support to essential workers in NSW.
“This announcement is an incredibly welcome reprieve for migrant workers and temporary visa holders in NSW." RLC's employment solicitor Sharmila Bargon said.
Together with the Migrant Employment Legal Service, the Refugee Advice and Casework Service and a consortium of CLCs in NSW, RLC's employment law service called on the NSW government for additional measures to protect migrants and temporary visa holders from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
"These essential workers have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 job losses, and have been without access to other forms of welfare support during the health crisis," Ms Bargon said. "We are delighted to see such positive action from the NSW government, which will help thousands of people in NSW on the brink of starvation and homelessness."
Acting Minister for Multiculturalism Geoff Lee said it’s vital these people are given the urgent help they need.
“The NSW Government is determined to ensure we support our most vulnerable by providing funding for essentials like food and medicine,” Mr Lee said.
“Our multicultural community leaders and organisations, and specialist migrant and settlement NGOs have shown immense leadership during this time, and I thank them for the work they have been doing to support our communities,” Mr Lee said.
This funding is in addition to the $20 million temporary crisis accommodation for stranded international students the NSW Government announced earlier in the year.
The COVID relief grants are now open, available in two streams. Applications close 27 July 2020 at 4pm.
The NSW government has conceded that two COVID-19 fines being challenged in a Supreme Court test case are invalid, opening the door for more than 30,000 other people to have fines worth $30 million cancelled.