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International students eligible for emergency payment in Australia

International students in Australia will be able to access an emergency payment as part of a temporary government scheme to support workers during lockdowns. 

International students in Australia will be able to access an emergency payment scheme for workers. Photo: Pexels

"Recipients will be given up to $500 per week for losing 20 hours or more of work"

In a statement, the federal government announced that those workers who reside or work in a Commonwealth declared hotspot, such as the one in the Greater Melbourne Area, will be eligible for the fund. 

“This support is critical to help those in the community who are most in need and most vulnerable to an extended lockdown”

Recipients will be given up to $500 per week for losing 20 hours or more of work, and $325 per week for losing under 20 hours. They must not have liquid assets of more than $10,000.

The support will be available for Australian citizens and permanent residents and eligible working visa holders, which includes international students. 

The fact that international students are being included has been welcomed by members of Australia’s international education community. 

“The current lockdown in Victoria following the fresh outbreak has indeed impacted workers,” Ravi Lochan Singh, president of AAERI told The PIE News.

“However, I welcome a change in stance of the Australian government whereby they have included a financial assistance for the affected temporary workers including those who may not have been full time. 

“This should benefit students who were in regular part-time employment and also those students who were on full-time work on their post study work visa.”

“I welcome a change in stance of The Australian government”

Belle Lim, national president of the Council of International Students Australia told The PIE that this is the first time the federal government has acknowledged international students and temporary visa holders as “eligible residents that deserve equal support for facing equal challenges, if not more, due to the pandemic”. 

“This support is critical to help those in the community who are most in need and most vulnerable to an extended lockdown.”

A difficult decision

Lim explained that students faced a difficult decision to either stay in Australia despite “enormous difficulties and little support”, or to return home with no end in sight of continuing their education onshore.

“Students who remained in the country were severely affected financially by the loss of crucial part time income, and lack of access to JobKeeper payment last year. 

“Many students had reported skipping meals, compromising living arrangements, worrying about course discontinuation due to inability to pay fees, or even facing homelessness,” Lim said. 

Speaking with The PIE, Robert Parsonson, executive officer of ISEAA, gave a similar description of the hardship endured by international students throughout the pandemic. 

He said that the government had not given assistance during the first lockdowns of 2020 and that this had led to “queues of international students for food hampers”. 

“This move is a catch up by the federal government to include temporary visa holders that are now a vital labour pool for hospitality and tourism industries. 

“The original call from the prime minister for temporary visa holders to ‘return to their country’ has flipped to giving students working in hospitality and aged care unlimited working hours in Australia,” he said. 

“The original call from the prime minister for temporary visa holders to ‘return to their country’ has flipped”

The government’s Covid-19 Temporary Activity Subclass 408 visa allows visa holders that are finishing their student visa to transfer and have full work rights for 12 months (with no study obligation) to work in hospitality and tourism and other critical industries, he added.

“This is putting further pressure on education providers as students previously would have extended their student visas,” he added. 

The impact of Australia’s policy on international student mobility has caused concern for many in the global education sector. A recent report by CISA found that some 93% of international students stranded overseas have experienced significant mental health issues.

Access to Services Australia Disaster Assistance became open to the public from Tuesday June 8 at www.servicesaustralia.gov.au or over the phone on 180 22 66.

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20 Responses to International students eligible for emergency payment in Australia

  1. Hi, my name is Ajay. From last 1 year, I am on Bridging visa and I got full working rights. I am working full time at restaurant as a Chef. But in this 2 weeks lockdown I am sitting at home and I have got any hours for work.
    So my question is, “Am I eligible for any grant?”
    If yes, please let me know.

    Thanks

  2. Australian government should think about the visa 600 sponsored for spouse
    Who r waiting for meeting to their family patiently

  3. I thought international students were meant to bring money to support themselves here, not take. If they are queuing for food they lied about their means.
    We keep being told how much they contribute to the economy while using the infrastructure Australians provide. Covid exposed this as a big lie. Mass numbers of international students push up accommodation costs for everyone, depress wages and the truth is they are essentially here to buy visas in the form of worthless degrees or work to send money back to their home countries. 40 billion dollar export industry my @rse.

    • You didn’t consider student as human equals. You have bastardized a thought process due to poor knowledge and feel you have a better life. How much have you done for Australia?. No nation has ever been built by itself but by synergy and combined efforts. Don’t get worked up even this land is not yours. Make the world a better place .

    • It’s unfortunate how you think you are better than the international students atleast they are making an effort to better their lives even if your shallow mind thinks the degrees are worthless. Atleast they contribute to the economy of Australia which can’t be said about you. And they ain’t taking any money, they are working for their money and still manage to go to school, they are the real champions not shallow minded people like you.

    • ‘s unfortunate how you think you are better than the international students atleast they are making an effort to better their lives even if your shallow mind thinks the degrees are worthless. Atleast they contribute to the economy of Australia which can’t be said about you. And they ain’t taking any money, they are working for their money and still manage to go to school, they are the real champions not shallow minded people like you

    • We contribute Australia economy while using it’s infrastructure — that’s quite common sense which you don’t have , so what do you expect we contribute tax in Australia working with new Zealand infrastructure , but unlike you guys who suck all the benefits and we didn’t get any benefits in the past even working in the same level like you.

      About increasing accomodations cost , the cost were higher even international students come , everyone knows Australia is damn expensive , and no wonder you guys travel to Bali and Thailand more than you ever do in your own country , guess why you know you like to afford cheap places .

      Worthless degrees you say like you know anything importantce about studies , like if you ever did.

      And yeah about paying for visas ,degrees fees , tax . Just think where is your job keeper job seeker money is coming from.

      In the end if you don’t like us them tell us to go away , even we don’t like to work like shit full time jobs and pay ridiculous taxes for someone else personel benifts schemes.

    • Garth, your inhumanity and ignorance is screaming out loud and clear mate.
      International students have brought billions into this country over the years and some worked at a pittance in jobs that many Australians don’t want to do. Their life plans have been derailed by this virus.
      They are young and vulnerable and without support from family here. Have a heart.

  4. Australian government should think about the visa 500 sponsored for spouse
    Who r waiting for meeting to their family patiently

    • Right, I am waiting for my husband from last 15 months. He got his visa but unable to come due to travel ban. Whatever I am going through is unbearable but I don’t have any choice except suffering and waiting for my husband.

  5. I am waiting to be with my hubby, he got his visa but unavle to come here from last 15 months. I am here on Student visa 500 he got his dependent visa 500 but we can’t be with each other, because government is not open their borders for those visa holders.
    How can I tell them that how much I need him.
    How stressful it is to manage everything and most important when I miss my hubby, I don’t know what should I do, I fall sick by thinking about him.
    I can’t explain my feelings.

  6. Last 17 months, Australia Immigration think tank knows what they are losing and going to lose. For future attraction, Immigration Team should consider to offer fast track PR to those currently living in Australia, point score above 60 ( subject to no illegal, criminal, religion crime etc). This will attract new talent for Australia.

  7. MrGarth- International are Humans too to have a right to live and work anywhere. Australia is ready to give such opportunities to learn and grow for other international that’s the reason they are here. Secondly getting $500 to each student will not make them richer. Last but not the least, you are not is their shoes who can decide how their life is! They are living without love, money, family and friends. They still don’t have freedom to meet their loved ones and come back to their respective jobs or University. Some people are facing issues coz they don’t have partners here, some people miss their family from ages- more than 2-4 years. I hope you understand their pain to help them rather than pulling their leg. They are here for better life by following all the rules of government. Thank you.

  8. You dont get what I’m saying. It is the mass numbers of international students that are the problem. We have far more here per capita than other countries. We have approximately 1,550 international students per 100,000 people. The UK has approx 550 per 100,000. The US has approx 310. They are hugely different figures.
    This is being fuelled by greedy universities who take the money, and in the process lower the standards for entry to get more students in. Many of whom do not have the necessary skills to pass. Plagiarism is rife in our unis now due to this lowering of standards for financial gain. It is no secret that lecturers and tutors are pressured to pass international students who would not pass otherwise, thus lowering the value of these degrees for all. In high tech industries here, very little value is put on an Australian university degree. Extensive testing is often done instead when applying for a job. I have seen this for years. The number of international student graduates not working in their chosen field of study, but driving trucks, taxis, and working in other low paid work is enormous. This would not be the case with more sensible numbers of students. They might even have a chance of working in their chosen career – shock horror.
    The broader costs of mass numbers of students – competition for accommodation, increased pressure on infrastructure and depressed wages – are borne by the wider Australian society. It is no coincidence that local youth unemployment reduced when international student numbers reduced with covid. Same for rents. It seems almost weekly that there is another case of wage theft, usually from easily exploitable international students, in the media. This reduces wages for anyone else who has to compete with large numbers of workers who can be conned into accepting less than minimum wage.
    Sadly our universities have become backdoor money-making immigration middle men peddling an increasingly inferior product as opposed to the esteemed institutions they once were.

  9. And further to the question of work and money, the $40 billion dollar export industry lie is just that. A lie. If the student is earning the money here that they spend here, that by definition is simply not an export. And it is not a case of the student doing a job that a local doesn’t want to do. It is typically a case of the student doing a job at an illegally low wage that a local would not accept. So who does the unscrupulous employer hire?
    Don’t believe me? Google wage theft Australia

  10. Hi Garth, i feel sorry for you. Do your study and research before you speak,,, seriously,. if you feel you are smart aleck good for you…. just mind the other people, i personally was one of the international student 8 years ago, and i know how they feel, yet you dont, you feel previlages…, you think only god knows what you are,, or what have you contribute to society with this attitude..

    The shock horror you mentioned, previlage boy like you wouldnt know anything about find job. Before i work as field engineer, many companies required PR or citizenship andd…. nahhh do your homework!!

    The work it there, but people like you are too LAZY to study and get the right skill. The gov literaly support the local to learn and earn.

    Long story short, if you think int students are the problem, think

    the businesses whom hire them local or int

    Does int student UNI fee, helps local students to thrive, may be help reduce local fee (if you been to uni u would know)

    What is import and export associate with int students***

    Consider 20hr/wk or 40hr/wk regardless high rate or low rate, (possible low wage, because previlages for PR and citizen only) how much can aust economy depreciate when int students sent money overseas

    Are you considering higher education? 😁😁

  11. Garth, I don’t think all of your numbers add up. Yes, the number of international students was ridiculously high and many were working for illegally low wages, but unemployment is about the same as before COVID and rents are higher (and house prices and the share market and tourist areas seem busier than ever…)

    The only plan for governments on both sides is for immigration of young, educated people to balance off the falling birth rate. Doing a degree here gives them better preparation than just directly landing and working and it’s cost-neutral.

    I think COVID has been a chance to clear out the dodgy providers and get universities thinking about quality again, rather than “immigration degrees”. The big numbers of Indian and Nepalese students is also something that might need to change.

    However, that has nothing to do with the international students themselves and everything to do with our politicians.

    The students will be back in 2022, in smaller numbers. That might be good for everyone.

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