Available government support packages and programs will be updated here as they are announced
The ACT Government has announced the ‘Jobs for Canberrans’ initiative which seeks to provide employment for those who worked in the casual or semi-skilled workforce and have lost their jobs, or those who have been seriously impacted by COVID-19. Preference is given to anyone who isn’t eligible for the Federal Government’s wage subsidy scheme or any other support. For more information, click here.
On 28 April 2020, the ACT Government announced a $450,000 relief package for temporary visa holders, including international students, who are facing financial hardship due to COVID-19. For more information, click here.
StudyPerth has launched StudyPerth Crisis Relief, a program that directly addresses the needs of international students impacted by COVID-19. Students studying in WA who are in immediate or emergency need of food or shelter can apply for support. Click here for more information and to apply.
New South Wales
On 18 May 2020, the NSW Government announced that it would be funding temporary crisis accommodation for stranded international students as part of a $20 million package. Read more here. International students can also call the NSW Government hotline on 13 77 88, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and subscribe to the Study NSW mailing list for more information.
On 8 April 2020, StudyNSW launched the International Student Welfare Services Hub – a comprehensive directory of support services available for international students in New South Wales. This includes emergency food assistance, accommodation and housing support services, and legal advice for international students. You can access the Welfare Services Hub here.
On 16 April 2020, the Northern Territory Government launched a $20 million fund for keeping businesses open and ensuring jobs are available. This package will include workers who are not covered under any JobKeeper payments, like visa holders. Further details can be found here.
On 19 May 2020, the Queensland Government announced it would more than triple its support for students, with an additional $10 million now available to international students going through financial hardship due to COVID-19. More information can be found here.
The Queensland Government has launched the Queensland Student Hub – an online platform designed to ensure support services are accessible to students across Queensland. The online hub complements support provided by the existing Student Hub Network in Brisbane, Gold Coast and Cairns. Students aged over 18 can now connect with professional support officers through the Queensland Student Hub to receive advice and guidance on mental health, visas, crisis accommodation and other essential needs. Students in demonstrated financial hardship may be able to access emergency assistance.
Students can visit the Queensland Student Hub here.
On 21 April 2020, the South Australian Government announced a new $13.8 million International Student Support Package, designed to support international students currently residing in South Australia and facing financial hardship.
Eligible international students will be able to apply for support through the Department of Human Services. More information on eligibility criteria and the application process can be found on the StudyAdelaide website.
To find out what kind of support is available to students in South Australia, click here.
On 22 April 2020, the Tasmanian Government unveiled a $3 million package to support around 26,000 temporary visa holders, including student visa holders who are unable to leave the state due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On 29 April 2020, the Victorian Government announced a $45 million International Student Emergency Relief Fund to support international students in Victoria facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Relief Fund will provide a payment of up to $1,100 for vulnerable international students who have lost their job or had a significant reduction to their employment and are facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.
For more information on the International Student Emergency Relief Fund, and a summary of Existing support for international students in Victoria, go to the Study Melbourne website.
Through Study Melbourne’s new COVID-19 support hub, the Victorian Government provides detailed information on where you can find a wide range of help and resources in Victoria. You can access free legal help with accommodation and employment problems through the Study Melbourne Student Centre, get help to access services in the community, and find free and confidential information, support and practical help.
New laws in Victoria help protect you as a tenant from eviction and allow you to negotiate a rent reduction with your landlord if you’re suffering financial hardship due to coronavirus (COVID-19). The laws apply for six months from 29 March 2020. For more information visit the Consumer Affairs Victoria website.
Emergency relief packages are available for vulnerable people in Victorian who need to undertake mandatory self-quarantine due to coronavirus (COVID-19). More information on these emergency relief packages can be found at the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services website.
On 8 April 2020, the Victorian Government launched the Working for Victoria program with a $500 million fund to help job-seekers in Victoria find employment. International students are eligible to apply for this program and can register their interest for work here.
In addition, City of Melbourne is calling for increased support for international students during the COVID-19 pandemic – including the establishment of a hardship fund to support students. A figure has not been set for this, but you can keep up-to-date with announcements here.
How are Australian education providers supporting international students during the COVID-19 crisis?
You can find a full, regularly-updated list of the support services and packages offered by education providers across Australia for international students here.
If you cannot find your education provider on the list, contact your institution directly to see what support services are in place to help you during COVID-19.
PACK & SEND has recently announced an International Student Support Grant that offers a $1,500 cash award to help an international student with the cost of education and living expenses amid COVID-19. For more information and to enter, click here.
Mental Health Support
With all of the current uncertainty, it is completely normal to feel anxious and stressed. Know that there are Australia-wide support services available to international students. Services such as Lifeline offer telephone, text and web-chat counselling, while Beyond Blue has a dedicated COVID-19 forum for people to seek support. Mental health support during COVID-19 can also be found at the following:
Beyond Blue also recommends that to alleviate anxiety, you must ensure you have access to good-quality, accurate information about COVID-19, to help you maintain perspective and feel in control. You can find this information here:
- Australian Government coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert
- Health Direct – Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- smartraveller.gov.au – travel information for Australian citizens
- World Health Organization – coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak
If you have questions regarding your OSHC cover in relation to COVID-19, the best thing to do is contact your provider directly.
An outline of the information Australia’s OSHC providers have released in regards to COVID-19 can be found here.
If you’re struggling to find grocery staples at major supermarkets or are unable to shop in-person due to self-isolation, there are a range of local online grocery stores that can be a convenient alternative – this guide outlines some of the best online grocery stores in your state.
If you are unable to afford food at the moment, there are a number of options you can turn to, as well as support services that can offer advice on steps forward, so you don’t go hungry during the COVID-19 pandemic – read more about them here.
For students in Perth: MATEinOz are delivering free food hampers for international students during this time. All students have to do is download the MATEinOz app and request assistance through the COVID-19 Help button.
What if I can’t stay at home and need somewhere to isolate?
Find A Bed is connecting people who need a place to isolate safely with people and businesses who have vacant property they can offer. You can find more information and register for assistance on the Find A Bed website.
What if I can no longer afford to live in my rental?
It is recommended that you speak to your landlord or property manager directly if you want to discuss anything relating to your rent. For more information on what to do if you can’t pay rent, click here.
If you have questions about renting during COVID-19, you can consult the tenants’ service relevant to your state – click here to find your local service.
The Australian Homestay Network has launched the International Student Support Network to offer low-cost housing to international students experiencing hardship. Click here for more information.
What happens if my workplace shuts down or I can’t work due to coronavirus?
As an international student and/or casual worker, you may be wondering: what if I get sick? What if I’ve lost my job? How am I going to support myself financially? Am I eligible for financial assistance? You can find answers to these questions here.
Coronavirus and Australian Workplace Laws
What does COVID-19 mean for my student visa?
International student visa and immigration questions are difficult to answer at the moment, as the Department of Home Affairs in Australia has not updated advice regarding the impact of the virus in a range of specific situations.
You can find some of the most pressing visa and immigration questions answered by a Registered Migration Agent here.
For more information contact:
Other useful resources
Ask Izzy can help you find services near you, free and anonymously – you just have to enter your suburb and find support for food, housing, healthcare, counselling, legal advice and addiction treatment.
Red Cross can help you find shelter and mental health support.
The Salvation Army can provide practical support for individuals or families in crisis.
Do you have a question about international student life in Australia that you want answered by experts? Whether it’s about visas, mental health, travel, your studies, employment, relationships or even simply finding a friend to talk to, reach out to us.
Check out our International Students Ask page to submit your question.