The Victorian Government announced today a $45 million fund to support international students in Victoria facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fund is being delivered in partnership with Victoria’s tertiary education providers.
Vulnerable international students who have lost their job or had a significant reduction in their employment and are facing financial hardship because of COVID-19 will receive a relief payment of up to $1,100.
Sduents who wish to make a claim for the relief fund may register via this link.
This is part of a Victorian Government emergency support package that will help tens of thousands of people across Victoria.
International students make a vital contribution to Victoria’s education system and the state’s economy.
The Victorian government recognises that the international students give so much to Victoria – not just through the fees they pay, but also through the economic activity they generate for Victorian businesses, and the contribution they make to a vibrant, inclusive society.
“International students give so much to Victoria – it’s only fair we support them in their hour of need,” Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade Martin Pakula said.
The Victorian Government said that it is committed to ensuring that the international student community feels safe and supported during this difficult period.
The fund complements the range of relief programs offered by Victorian universities, education providers and existing government support.
International students from Victoria’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.
Like so many people during this pandemic, international students have been affected by casual job losses in retail and hospitality, making it even tougher for them to make ends meet. Many have also fallen through the cracks of Federal Government programs – unable to access the support they need to support themselves.
“This virus doesn’t discriminate and neither do we – we are in this together and we will get through it together,” Pakula said.
The fund will provide a one-off payment to students in need while expanding emergency provisions for those experiencing exceptional circumstances.
“It’s important that we back the people who have made such a strong commitment to our state, and we will make sure that our education providers can emerge from the other side of this crisis in a position to quickly rebuild,” Minister for Education James Merlino said.
Up to 40,000 international students enrolled at Victorian universities, TAFEs, private vocational education and training providers and English language colleges who have lost wages and work due to the coronavirus pandemic could benefit from the relief payment, which covers demonstrated lost income up to $1,100.
The payments, which will require co-contributions from university hardship funds, build on existing Victorian Government support provided to international students through the Study Melbourne Student Centre such as free legal aid and mental health services.
More than 150,000 international students currently living in Victoria are also eligible for the Victorian Government’s rent relief program, including subsidies of up to $2,000, and those legally allowed to work in Victoria are eligible for the Working for Victoria initiative, which helps people who have lost their jobs to find new employment.
“We’ll continue to work closely with the sector to give international students the support they need so they can continue to focus on their studies,” Minister for Training and Skills and Higher Education Gayle Tierney said.
International education generated $12.6 billion revenue for Victoria last financial year, supporting around 79,000 jobs, with most students coming from China, India, Nepal, Malaysia and Vietnam.
For more information about the relief fund and other dedicated support, go to studymelbourne.vic.gov.au.
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