A Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) team will visit regions of Far North Queensland affected by Cyclone Yasi in the coming days, as part of its regional outreach program.
Officers will travel to regions including Tully and Innisfail to provide support to temporary visa holders, including overseas workers and tourists who may be concerned about their immigration status.
“If people in the affected areas hold a visa which is about to expire, or work for a business which has been affected, the department urges them to contact DIAC as soon as possible to discuss their options,” a departmental spokesman said.
“DIAC officers will be on the ground in affected areas shortly to assist these people.”
Officers will also meet with local farmers and businesses to discuss potential sources of labour, such as working holiday makers, as they start the massive clean-up and rebuilding effort.
“Working holiday makers are an ideal option for Far North Queensland landholders who are seeking an immediately accessible labour force on properties affected by Cyclone Yasi,” the spokesman said.
“Many overseas workers in Queensland showed a keen interest to assist in the clean-up in regions of the state devastated by the recent floods, and DIAC is equally keen to assist the victims and volunteers as they cope with yet another natural disaster.”
Working holiday makers may also wish to volunteer in the clean-up and rebuilding and DIAC officers will be on hand to provide advice and information to ensure visa holders undertake volunteer work in a manner that is consistent with their visa conditions.
Construction work following a natural disaster, whether it is paid or unpaid, can be counted as part of the specified work in a regional area of Australia that visa holders need to complete to apply for a Second Working Holiday visa.