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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – Latest updates for international students in Australia

What’s new?

 

  • Information on the StudyPerth Crisis Relief initiative
  • Financial support for international students in Victoria
  • Red Cross’ announcement of plans to support temporary visa holders in Australia.
  • Temporary visa holders can now apply for early release of superannuation.

 

Australia has declared ‘human biosecurity emergency’ to fight the novel coronavirus pandemic, and the government issues new instructions and advice to the residents of the country almost every day. 

We at AECC Global, would like to help and guide all international students studying in Australia during this period. As a part of our efforts, we are compiling all the useful latest updates for students from the government of Australia and the top universities. We intend to keep it updated at regular intervals for your reference.  Find all the important contact information in the following sections. 

If you are an international student studying in Australia or about to start your studies, keep checking this space out for the latest COVID19 updates. 

Latest developments: (As of 30.4.2020)

Updates for temporary visa holders including international students

  • International students studying in Western Australia can now apply for support from the government through StudyPerth Crisis Relief initiative.  Find more information on StudyPerth.
  • Working for Victoria is a new initiative through which international students who have working rights in Australia can find new job opportunities, if they have lost their jobs in this pandemic situation. 
  • International students in Victoria can apply for a $1100 relief fund to cover their living expenses in the state. Visit studymelbourne.vic.gov.au.
  • Red Cross is receiving funds from the government of Australia to assist temporary visa holders with basic necessities for the next 6 months. Click here to learn more. 

As per the announcement made by the DOHA on Saturday, 04 April 2020:

  • Temporary visa holders will be able to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in this financial year to assist in supporting themselves through the coronavirus crisis.
  • International Students who have been here for longer than 12 months who find themselves in financial hardship will be able to access their Australian superannuation.
  • International students working in supermarkets will have their working hours return to the maximum 40 hours a fortnight from May 1, 2020 as more Australians are being recruited into these roles.
  • International students working in aged care and as nurses continue to have their hours extended to support these critical sectors.
  • The Government will also be flexible in cases where Coronavirus has prevented international students from meeting their visa conditions (such as not being able to attend classes).
  • 457/482 visa holders whose working hours have been reduced by the employer (due to COVID 19 impact) will not be in breach of their visa condition.  
  • 457/482 visa holders who have lost their job due to COVID 19 impact should find a new employer/sponsor in 60 days.  If not, their visa may be cancelled and they may have to return to their home country or look for further legal avenues. 

 

COVID -19 – Subclass 408 stream announced

This visa provides a pathway to certain former and current holders of  temporary visas to lawfully stay in Australia, who would have otherwise been required to depart the country, but are not able to do so because of COVID19 pandemic.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • The applicant must hold a visa that is 28 days or less from its expiry or held a visa that expired in not more than 28 days ago from the time of new visa application, and, are unable to apply for the same temporary visa they hold or held or any other subclass of temporary visa other than the Subclass 408 visa.
  •  The applicant must also remain in Australia to assist in critical sectors including healthcare, disability and aged care, child care and agriculture during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have questions related to your visa or studies, feel free to contact us on

           Phone: 0452 295 909          Email: [email protected]     

Update from top universities for the international students

Flinders university allocates $12.5 million to support its students which will include $1 million in support payments, up to $2000 scholarship for eligible students and a complete waiver of student services and amenities fee for all students. 

La Trobe University pays $3000 as one off payment for students who require assistance in covering their living expenses along with a separate technological bursary. 

RMIT University has announced a $10 million support package for students. Students can apply for emergency financial grants and technology grants. While the former is for students who are affected by  loss of jobs and other financial issues related to covid19, the latter is to help students with their IT equipment and internet needs.

Curtin University is offering an $8 million worth of assistance package to its students. Housing support and  financial bursary is available for students who are facing difficulties at the moment.

Deakin University said on Friday it had received over 1500 applications from students for immediate financial support, and had approved 730 so far.

Monash University has announced a scheme for $500 emergency grants to students which is being implemented immediately as well as longer term support for students who need it.

James Cook University has established a food pantry in Cairns and Townsville to help students with basic necessities. 

Western Sydney University is giving current international students (who are onshore in Australia) a 10 per cent fee reduction, as well as offering other support measures.

Macquarie University is offering up to $1000 loans to needy students, in addition to an existing loan and grant scheme offering up to $2000.

Murdoch University has a $2 million assistance fund for students severely affected financially by the coronavirus and a bursary worth $25 a week to reduce food bills for international students.

 

Other major announcements:

The government has already announced two instalments of the coronavirus stimulus package to rescue people from the economic impact of the pandemic. 

As a part of this package, 236,000  Australian students (domestic students) get a $550 allowance fortnight on top of the $460 they have been receiving as student allowance, Abstudy and Austudy allowances. 

For international students, the government is in discussion to come up with plans to aid them in this crisis. Some universities and education providers have come forward with discounted tuition fees and payment plans to assist the students in need.

If you are an international student in Australia and going through financial hardship at this time, our consultants would be able to guide you with some of the options that will help you navigate through this challenging time. Feel free to contact us for any queries related to the current situation. 

All the visa holders in the country are advised to apply for a new visa or a bridging visa if their current visa is nearing its expiry. They can apply for a waiver of ‘No further stay’ conditions if they fulfil the prescribed eligibility criteria.

The state governments have now restricted inter-state travel. From March 26, anyone who travels to Queensland and Western Australia should quarantine themselves for 14 days. These conditions apply even to Australian nationals. Similarly, each state has come up with their entry conditions. You could check out their websites. (Find URLs in one of the following sections). 

International Travel restrictions:

Australia has imposed its highest level travel warning- level 4 travel ban for an indefinite period.  

As of April 30, 2020, 

  • Australian nationals are banned from overseas travel, with a few exemptions.  
  • Only Australian citizens, permanent residents, and their immediate family members can enter Australia.
  • All travellers need to self-quarantine for 14 days from the day they enter Australia.

Australian Universities’ response to COVID-19

Universities in Australia are actively supporting international students by enabling online learning, relaxing the first-semester calendar, making additional courses available in the later semesters and establishing student helplines. 

They have dedicated pages live on their websites to communicate timely updates. Check them out from time to time for official announcements. 

Here are the links to the websites of other major universities in Australia.

The Australian National UniversityMonash UniversityRMIT UniversityCharles Sturt University
Central Queensland UniversityUniversity of CanberraUniversity of Technology SydneyEdith Cowan University
Curtin UniversityVictoria UniversityAustralian Catholic UniversityMacquarie University
Charles Darwin UniversityDeakin UniversityFlinders UniversitySwinburne University of Technology
The University of NewcastleUniversity of South AustraliaThe University of Western AustraliaThe University of Adelaide
Charles Sturt UniversityEdith Cowan UniversityMacquarie UniversityUniversity of New South Wales
Swinburne University of TechnologyThe University of AdelaideUniversity of New South WalesThe University of Queensland
The University of QueenslandUniversity of TasmaniaWestern Sydney UniversityUniversity of Tasmania

 

 AECC Global cares

AECC Global stands in solidarity with the countries and people that are fighting the pandemic now. Like any other day, our consultants around the world are on their feet to help international students. Our services are open as usual. 

For the safety of students and our staff members, we strongly recommend you to connect with us over phone calls and digital platforms. Feel free to seek any assistance you need from us. Our consultants are well-equipped to provide support to students as smoothly as it happens in face to face meetings. 

You could reach us on: 

Phone: 0452 295 909          Email: [email protected]                                            

Emergency contacts for International Students in Australia 

Emergency telephone number: 000

COVID-19 24×7 National emergency helpline: 1800 020 080

Home Affairs Global Service Centre:

+61 131 881 available between 9 am and 5 pm on all business days

 Study in Australia helpline:

To seek information and assistance on the status of your enrolment, fees and other related issues, contact your institution first. In case if the institution is not able to help, you could contact Study-in-Australia’s student support.

  •  Phone: (+61) 1300 981 621 from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday AEDT, except public holidays.   
  • Email: [email protected] 

 Mental well-being helpline for international students: 

  • Lifeline Australia – 13 11 14
  • Youth Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636
  • headspace – 1800 650 890 
  • Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800

COVID -19 Helpline state-wise:

  • New South wales – 1800 022 222 
  • Victoria – 1800 675 398
  • Tasmania – 1800 671 738  
  • ACT – 1800 022 222 
  • Queensland – 13 43 25 84
  • South Australia – 1800 020 080 
  • Western Australia – 1800 020 080
  • Northern Territory – 1800 020 080

Important websites to follow for reliable updates on COVID-19:

Department of Home Affairs

Department of Health  

Study in Australia 

World Health Organization 

 Guide to safety:

Follow these dedicated pages from the WHO and the Government of Australia to learn the necessary precautions against COVID-19.

COVID-19 Basic preventive measures

COVID-19 symptom checker

COVID-19 isolation guidance 

COVID-19 Public transport guide 

Let us stay optimistic that the current situation is only temporary, and things will return to normal quickly. Improve your physical and mental health in this period by eating right, exercising indoors and spending time happily by doing something you enjoy. 

Follow the safety instructions properly and protect yourself. Avoid panic buying and discourage your friends from doing so. 

Be assured that Australia is not running short of any commodity. Step out of home only if necessary and avoid public transport as much as possible. 

Reiterating the importance of washing hands and social distancing might sound like an overkill. But remember, you are doing it not only for your safety, but for that of others as well. We will overcome this together and quicker. 

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