Kiwis living across the ditch say the Australian Government's decision to include them in one of its Covid-19 packages does not go far enough and will still leave many of them struggling to pay their bills.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced yesterday that New Zealanders living in Australia on 444 visas will be able to access the A$1500 fortnightly payments as part of the job keeper scheme.

But expats living in Australia say the offer does not go far enough and only applies to people who have been in their roles for 12 months or if there will be a job to return to.

Nicole Kelly, 20, moved to Brisbane two years ago and is having to rely on her mum and her partner to pay her bills after losing her part-time job at a swim school.


The swim school closed a week ago due to Covid-19 and Kelly said even though she had nearly been in her role for a year, her employer told her today that they were not eligible for the job keeper scheme because the business was closed indefinitely.

Kelly, who is also studying psychology and criminology, said it seemed unfair that Kiwis committed to living in Australia and paid taxes but weren't eligible for any benefits.

She had friends who were going to be forced to move home because they wouldn't be able to pay their rent if they lost their jobs.

"When Australians move over to New Zealand the Government supports them, but when we move over there it just seems like a whole different kettle of fish."

"Mum said to me if she didn't have her job anymore we would have to go back to New Zealand because we can't anything."

While her Australian colleagues could apply for unemployment benefits, Kiwis like her couldn't, she said.

Another Kiwi living in Melbourne, who spoke to Herald on the condition she was not named, started a new job only a week before employees were told to work from home and she was extremely worried about what it would mean if she lost her job.

She would not be entitled to the job keeper scheme - the only allowance currently available to Kiwis - because she had only started her job and was still not eligible to get any financial assistance or benefit from the Government.


The 30-year-old had been living in Australia for three years and said many Kiwis including her had built their lives there and it wasn't as easy as simply packing up and moving home and going on the dole.

"What many Kiwis say in this situation is we pay taxes as if we are residents and what we would request is fair treatment as if we are residents."

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had been putting pressure on the Australian Government to include New Zealanders in some Covid-19 support packages. New Zealanders do not get welfare benefits in Australia unless they have become citizens.

Ardern yesterday welcomed the news Kiwis were being included in the Government's bail-out scheme.

She said many Kiwis had built their careers in Australia and paid taxes for years so was really pleasing the Australia Government has agreed to provide them a wage subsidy at their time of need.