Victoria has unveiled an International Student Emergency Relief Fund to provide support to struggling international students.
Payments of up to $1,100 will be made available to students who have seen a significant reduction in their working hours or lost their employment entirely due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The International Student Emergency Relief Fund is worth a total of $45 million.
International students from the state’s tertiary education providers including universities, TAFEs, private Vocational Education and Training providers and English language colleges are eligible to apply for the hardship payment.
Applications aren’t open yet, but you can register your interest and you’ll be notified when they do.
This fund is designed to complement existing relief programs already on offer to students by education providers and the Federal Government.
H2: Existing Support and Programs
- Study Melbourne’s online Covid-19 support hub where you can find up-to-date information and links to resources
- Early access to superannuation, if eligible
- Employment support through the $500 million Working for Victoria initiative, which provides access to resume checking services and webinars
- Access to the Victoria Rent Relief Grant, if eligible
- Access to accommodation and employment-related legal support from the International Student Accommodation Legal Service and Work Rights Legal Service, if eligible
This news comes after Tasmania announced a $3 million support package for temporary visa holders living in the state. Tasmania’s package is open to all eligible visa holders, not just international students.
The ACT Government has also made cash relief packages available to eligible overseas students, asylum seekers and refugees.
South Australia has set aside $13.8 million to provide cash grants to international students.
The NSW Government has yet to announce any support measures targeted at temporary visa holders, despite being home to the majority of Australia’s temporary residents.
Writing for WA Today, Jenny Leong, Greens Member for Newtown, and the NSW Greens multiculturalism spokeswoman, said: “If there was ever a time to offer a hand to migrants and their families who need a share of our wealth and privilege, then surely it is now. This crisis gives us an opportunity to reset some of the inequality that has for too long been woven into the fabric of this country. Let us hope that we choose to take it up”.
If you’re a temporary visa holder and plan to remain in Australia until the Covid-19 pandemic is over, it’s important to remain lawful and adhere to your visa conditions. The Covid-19 pandemic event (408) visa was introduced as a ‘last resort’ visa to help people remain lawful.