Information for New Zealanders in Australia

JobSeeker payments

If you find yourself unemployed and:

  • have been living in Australia for 10 consecutive years (which can include leaving for holidays and alike);
  • have not accessed the one off 6 month benefit payment before now;
  • you meet the rest of the JobSeeker Allowance criteria (it is income tested if you have a partner still working) 

Non-protected Special Category Visa holders (New Zealanders that came after 26 February 2001) can apply to Centrelink for a Jobseeker Allowance ONCE for a maximum of 6 months. It is income tested, so partner’s income will be taken into account.

Some superannuation schemes will require confirmation you do not qualify for Centrelink in order to apply for early release (see superannuation information below).

The best way to start the process is over the phone by ringing 132 850. You need to have the following ID on hand:

  • passport
  • birth certificate
  • bank card
  • drivers license 

They will then give you a linking code and you can then create a MyGov account (if you haven't already got one) and make your application online - at home. Fact sheet here.

Getting back to New Zealand

  • The International Organisation for Migration is affiliated to the Department of Home Affairs and one of their services is to help those that are in Australia on temporary visas who now find themselves in crisis and needing to voluntarily get back to their country of origin. They can pay for passports and flights. They can also help in crisis on a case by case basis ie; accommodation
  • Assisted Returns Program, much like IOM, can pay for passports and flights to get people voluntarily back to their country of origin.

JobKeeper payments

Employers impacted by the coronavirus will be able to access a wage subsidy from the government to continue paying their employees.

Employees will receive a notification from their employer that they are receiving the JobKeeper Payment. Most employees will not need to do anything further.

Read more.

Income support payments for individuals and households

Income support fact sheets

The Australian Government is providing financial assistance to Australians. This assistance includes income support payments, payments to support households and temporary early releases of superannuation. The following fact sheets provide more information about each of the payments.

  • Income support for individuals - eligibility information about income support payments and the Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight. 

  • Payment to support households - information about the two separate $750 payments to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. 

  • Early access to superannuation - individuals affected by coronavirus can access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. 

  • Providing support to retirees - information about how retirees can manage the impact of volatility in financial markets on their retirement savings by temporarily reducing superannuation minimum drawdown requirements.  

Please note: If you already receive Newstart or another payment, you do not need to contact Centrelink to get the extra support announced. The extra payment will come through automatically.

The government is providing two separate $750 payments to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders.

Over the next six months, the government is temporarily expanding eligibility for income support payments and establishing a coronavirus supplement of $550 per fortnight. This will be paid to existing and new recipients of JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance Jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit.

How do I receive an income support payment?

Information for people already getting a payment

You don't need to do anything - you do not need to contact Centrelink.

The payments will happen as part of your usual payments. This includes the two lump sum $750 Economic Support Payments to support households and the $550 additional coronavirus supplement.

First lump sum payment - Centrelink will pay you $750 from 31 March 2020 if you're getting an eligible payment on any day between 12 March to 13 April 2020.

To be eligible for the first payment, you must be residing in Australia and getting one of the payments or hold one of the concession cards on the list here

If you're a Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Cardholder, you'll need to make sure Centrelink have your bank account details, which you can update through MyGov.

Second lump sum payment - Centrelink will pay the second $750 Economic Support Payment from 13 July 2020. 

If you're not eligible for the Coronavirus Supplement, you may get the second $750 payment. 

To be eligible, you must be in Australia and on 10 July 2020, getting one of the payments or holding one of the concession cards from the list here.

Coronavirus Supplement - From 27 April 2020, you will be paid a temporary fortnightly $550 Coronavirus Supplement if you are getting one of the following payments:

  • JobSeeker Payment (Newstart)
  • Youth Allowance
  • Parenting Payment
  • Farm Household Allowance
  • Special Benefit
  • ABSTUDY (living allowance)

If you already receive Newstart or another payment, you do not need to contact Centrelink to get the extra support announced. The extra payment will come through automatically.

Information for people not currently on income support

Have you ever received income support? 

You may already have a Centrelink Customer Reference Number (CRN). This may be from when you got student or family payments or even from when your parents received benefits for you. CRNs don't change. If you have previously had a CRN, you can use that number to go online to make a claim. Please take the time to look for your CRN - it will help you claim quickly. Your CRN may be listed on old bank statements, letters or documents from your educational institute.

If you've never received income support or can't find your CRN

There are three things you need to as a priority:

1. MyGov - Create a MyGov account at - it's quick and easy to do. You'll need an email address, mobile phone number and answer some basic questions. Once you've created your account, link it to a government service, like Medicare or the Australian Taxation Office. Once you do this, you'll get a prompt to register your intention to claim a Centrelink payment.

2. Register your intention to claim a Centrelink payment - this simple process will let you give basic details so Australian Services can contact you later to help you with your claim. It's important you complete this process and give correct details. This process also enables them to backdate your payment if your claim is successful.

3. You'll need a CRN - the easiest way to do this is to wait until Australian Services contact you after you have registered your intention to claim. You can also call 132 850 and answer some simple questions about your identity to get your CRN. You'll need to have your passport, driver's licence and birth certificate details.

Once you have completed these steps and set up your online account, you can start your claim for an income support payment. You'll need supporting documents (including your CRN). 

Due to a large number of claims, it will take time for Centrelink to contact you. Remember, your payment will be backdated if you registered your intention to claim a payment.

Accessing Services Australia

In line with current advice, there's a reduction in the number of people in service centres to maintain social distancing practices for the health and safety of customers and staff.

If you choose to come to a service centre, it's likely you'll experience a delay. If you're waiting in a queue, you must practice social distancing.

The JobSeeker line is 132 850

The JobSeeker line has extended hours of operation from 8:00am to 8:00pm local time on weekdays and 9:00am to 5:00pm local time on weekends.

You can find more information on how to claim here.

Job Seekers (Newstart) mutual obligations

Mutual obligations have been temporarily suspended. Find out more here.

You will need to call Services Australia on your regular payment line

For job seekers, more details can be found here.

Basic Rights Queensland can also provide free information, advocacy and legal services on Social Security (Centrelink and Employment Services) - call them on 07 3847 5532 or free call on 1800 358 511.

People with disability

If you receive a disability payment from Services Australia, there are no changes to your payment due to COVID-19.

Many people with disabilities are likely to be concerned about coming into a service centre. They are advised to use Services Australia's online services, including the people with disability phone line.

For more information, please visit the People with disability - coronavirus (COVID-19) page.

Find out more about new measures to support NDIS participants and providers through COVID-19 on our FAQs page.

Support for apprentices and trainees

The Australian Government is supporting small businesses to retain their apprentices and trainees. Find out more here.

Cash flow assistance for businesses

This fact sheet from the Australian Government details how they will be supporting small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Small business support from the Queensland Government

The Queensland Government has announced a range of initiatives to support businesses. Find out more here.

Queensland Government media release Queensland primary producers will have extra time to lodge drought assistance claims and are being urged to apply electronically due to the impact of COVID-19 on claim processing times. Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner...
Thriving Communities Partnership (TCP) will be kicking off the first installment of the TCP Connect Weekly Webinars, o n 8 April 2020. The first series 'Navigating COVID Together Series' will contain 45 minutes of conversations with leaders from across sectors to discuss topics, including...
Workplaces across Australia are innovating in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic - with many transitioning to operating in a virtual environment as employees begin to work from home. It can be a learning curve for some people working from home for the first time but thankfully there are some really...
Youth Affairs Network Queensland (YANQ) is asking for responses to undertake informed advocacy on issues impacting the youth sector and lobby for extra supports needed during the COVID-19 crisis. If you wish to raise various concerns about continuity of service to marginalised young people, have...
Early Childhood Australia (ECA) has assembled a straight-forward guide and resources to assist with discussing the COVID-19 pandemic with children. ECA recognise that young children around Australia are at different stages of understanding COVID-19, and need appropriate age-based responses. They...
Although remote working is not new for many employees, some departments have never had a requirement to operate in this way. Is your organisation prepared to run business-critical processes remotely? The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) has published a series of webinars designed...
Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) is working with the Queensland Government to ensure Queenslanders with disability can get the information, resources and tools they need to prepare for this evolving COVID-19 pandemic. They have released a suite of resources and tools to give people with...
2020 has been characterised by great challenges to our collective wellbeing. In the wake of Australia’s devastating bushfires, COVID-19 is now rattling our global community. This is a time to practice caution and self-care, and an opportunity for our communities to learn a lot about looking after...
Red Cross Australia has assembled a helpful guide to help you speak to children and young people about the COVID-19 pandemic. Like adults, children are navigating something they have never experienced before. Finding the right way to talk to them about COVID-19 can help protect children and reduce...
Queensland Government media release The Queensland Government is increasing its efforts to help small business during the COVID-19 pandemic by partnering with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) to deliver widespread assistance throughout the state. Minister for Employment and...


A central point where you can find information and support on the COVID-19 changes affecting renting in Queensland. An initiative of the Queensland Government in collaboration with RTA, Tenants Queensland and REIQ. The hub includes: Information for renters Information for property owners...
This 30-minute online training module is for health care workers in all settings. It covers the fundamentals of infection prevention and control for COVID-19. This training module covers the fundamentals of infection prevention and control for COVID-19 including: COVID-19 – what is it? Signs and...
Insight centre for alcohol and other drug training has developed a toolkit for remote alcohol and other drug (AOD) counselling service delivery. The toolkit contains mobile apps, interactive websites and downloadable worksheets that can be used to enhance telephone or online-based AOD counselling...
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) has published a series of webinars designed to support businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics include: Is your business ready or prepared for remote working environments? Be practically prepared State and Federal Government resources...
The following fact sheets provide more information about financial assistance to support individuals and households through Coronavirus. Income support for individuals - eligibility information about income support payments and the Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight...
Oneplace Find help near you. Search more than 53,000 Queensland family community services at oneplace . Department of Social Services The Department of Social Services provides a search function to find your nearest emergency relief provider . Ask Izzy Ask Izzy is a mobile website that connects...
Thriving Communities Partnership (TCP) provides a COVID-19 pandemic resource platform that includes response packages, support and information available from TCP partners and other organisations across Australia. More information here
You can download a business continuity plan template here or a template for a disaster plan for community organisations here . If you don’t already have a formal business continuity plan in place, or you need to update it, visit the Business continuity page for more information on what to include...
Samuel Mortimer, QCOSS

Workplaces across Australia are innovating in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic - with many transitioning to operating in a virtual environment as employees begin to work from home.

It can be a learning curve for some people working from home for the first time, but...

See videos from StudioQ related to this topic

Share or Print