Australia to provide help to visa holders affected by cyclone

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Australia's Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) will be visiting regions of Far North Queensland that are expected to be affected by Cyclone Yasi as part of a regional outreach program to support temporary visa holders who may be worried 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," said a department spokesperson.

"DIAC officers will be on the ground in affected areas shortly to assist these people," the DIAC spokesperson added.

DIAC will also be speaking with local farmers and businesses to discuss hiring working holiday makers to help in the expected clean up 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," DIAC 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."

DIAC officers will be on hand to provide advice and information to working holiday visa holders who wish to volunteer in the cleanup. This is to ensure that they work "in a manner that is consistent with their visa conditions."

According to DIAC, construction work following a natural disaster -- whether paid or unpaid -- can be counted as part of the specified work in a regional area of Australia that working holiday maker visa holders need to complete to be able to apply for a Second Working Holiday visa.