Henry Edwards is like many Canberrans facing an uncertain future in the wake of the economic shocks being felt as Australia tries to slow the spread of coronavirus.
While their hairdressing business was given a reprieve from the government on Thursday, Mr Edwards said they have spent much of this week believing the hair salon they manage at Jamison Plaza would need to close.
And while Australia -- and Canberra -- feels like home for them, as a New Zealander, Mr Edwards isn't eligible to join the long Centrelink queues.
That means if they were to lose work, they would be looking down the barrel of months without any money coming in, and no means for financial support, and returning to New Zealand isn't an option.
"I believe the borders are closed and I can't go back to New Zealand," Mr Edwards said.
"And in saying that, I've built my life here, I consider myself an Australian and I pay taxes like an Australian."
Mr Edwards said the longest period they have been unemployed for since coming to Australia was three days - and that was the three days after first arriving eight years ago.
"You feel you're part of the community and you've been here for years, and most Kiwis have come to work hard and build a better life ... we're not here for government benefits or to bludge off the government, but these are extreme circumstances and no one ever expected this to happen."
Mr Edwards is also concerned about being able to pay for and access medication for a chronic illness and as a trans woman.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has called for Kiwis to be eligible for the JobSeeker payment, and Mr Edwards said other working migrants should be included as well.
The government has waived welfare waiting periods for foreigners who are on track to receive their citizenship soon. But those on temporary visas can't access benefits.
Greens immigration spokesman Nick McKim said the government owed an urgent responsibility to look after those among the 1.5 million people on temporary visas who needed support.
"Many of them have no income and no capacity to leave the country due to restrictions imposed in response to the pandemic, and face losing their homes and jobs," he said.
Ms Ardern has asked for Kiwis to be given access to benefits but so far hasn't heard back from the Morrison government.
"In our mind it's all part of a wider response that's required to help people to stay at home. If people don't have that financial support they have an incentive to work when they shouldn't," she told reporters.
The nation's peak multicultural body has also written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison asking for the issue to be dealt with urgently.
Federation of Ethnic Communities' Councils of Australia chair Mary Patseos said the combined health and economic crises were so unprecedented it required a rethink of the existing ways of doing things.
"These people contribute to our society and economy, they are our friends, neighbours and co-workers, and they deserve the support of their community at this time," she said.
Parliament gave Social Services Minister Anne Ruston temporary wide-ranging powers to make changes to the welfare system to rapidly respond to the evolving coronavirus crisis.
She is working through the various visa classes to see what support could be given.
- with AAP
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