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Coronavirus response - State Governments Step Up to Support International Student - SA, NT, ACT, Victoria & NSW

International uni students

Support for International Students 

International students in Australia are ineligible for the welfare payments and income supplements that were recently announced by the Federal Government. Currently, the JobSeeker and JobKeeper schemes are accessible by Australian citizens, permanent residents and subclass 444 visa holders.

Income assistance has not been provided to international students at the federal level. The following state governments are stepping up to help students facing financial hardship during these unprecedented times:

South Australia

The South Australian Government has announced a new $13.8 million International Student Support Package for South Australian-based international students. There are three components to the package:

1. Public Universities - University of Adelaide, Flinders University & the University of South Australia

The South Australian Government will match funding by the state’s three public universities to allocate to their international students.

Students studying at one of the three universities can apply for support by contacting their university.


2. Other International Students

Other students not studying at a public university will be given a $500 emergency cash grant. Eligibility criteria are still being formalized but the grant will be available to the following students through the Department of Human Services:

  • English language students (excluding students on packaged programs with one of South Australia’s three public Universities)
  • Vocational Education and Training (VET) students
  • Higher education students studying with one of South Australia’s private higher-education institutions

Register your interest here and the link to the application form will be sent to you as soon as it is available.


3. School Students

Homestay families of school students in South Australia will receive a one-off $200 payment to help support accommodation for school students.



Northern Territory

On 3 April 2020, the Northern Territory Government announced the Worker and Wellbeing Fund to support international students who have lost their jobs or have had their income reduced due to Coronavirus restrictions.

How to Apply 

Contact Red Cross on +61 403 987 018 to access emergency relief and support

For more information, read the factsheet here.



International Students Emergency Relief Fund

International students experiencing financial hardship may be eligible for relief funding by the Victorian government. Payments of up to $1,100 will be made to eligible students.

How to Apply

If you are enrolled in a public university or TAFE, contact the student support services team of your education provider to apply. Click here for more information.

If you are enrolled in a private education provider or college, click here to apply. Check if your education provider is eligible here.


Rent Relief Grant

The Victorian Government has established an $80 million rental assistance fund to provide rent relief payments of up to $2000 to Victorians experiencing rental hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic.

To be eligible for the grant you will need to have:

  • Registered a revised rental agreement with Consumer Affairs Victoria
  • Have less than $5,000 in savings (excluding superannuation)
  • Have an income of less than $1,903 per week before tax
  • Be paying more than 30% of your income in rent

You will also need to show a significant change in your financial circumstances such as loss of employment or working hours and/or pay reduced by 20% or more.

How to Apply

Click here to lodge an online application.


Working for Victoria Program

The Victorian Government is creating job opportunities for international students through its $500 million Working for Victoria program. In addition, the state government is facilitating online training to enhance skills as part of the program. There are two types of training offered:

  • do a free short online training unit in an area where Victorian employers are currently looking for workers
  • do a free TAFE course that leads to a recognised qualification in an area where Victorian employers are likely to be looking for workers as the economy recovers. (Tuition is free, but you may need to pay materials and student services fees.)

How to Apply

International students with working rights are eligible to apply. Register online on Sidekicker for job opportunities and training availabilities.


Australian Capital Territory

On 20 April 2020, the ACT announced a $20 million Jobs for Canberrans fund to provide employment opportunities with the ACT Public Service. To be eligible to apply for roles, people must have lost their job, or have been significantly impacted as a result of COVID-19.

Priority for jobs will be given to those who are ineligible for existing Federal Government support, including international students.

How to Apply

Register for an account here to be notified of vacancies and apply for jobs.

These are the current job opportunities under this program:



On 22 April 2020 the Tasmanian Government unveiled a $3 million package to support 26,000 temporary visa holders affected by the Coronvirus pandemic in Tasmania. These visa holders include students, fruit pickers and skilled workers.

The package is to be rolled out in four stages:

  1. One-off payment of $250 for individuals and up to $1,000 for families who are experiencing immediate financial hardship as a result of the Coronavirus
  2. Emergency relief funds to non-governmental organisations that assist temporary visa holders
  3. Financial support and travel advice for temporary visa holders who can return to their home country
  4. Help employers retain their temporary visa holding employees

How to Apply

Visa holders wishing to access the assistance grants or are wanting to return to their home country should call the Public Hotline on 1800 671 738


New South Wales

On 15 May 2020, the NSW government announced a $20 million temporary funding package for stranded international students.

The package includes:

  1. Crisis accommodation through student accommodation or homestay providers 
  2. A 24/7 internatioanl student support hotline (call 13 77 88) to offer free legal, medical/mental health advice and emergency support
  3. Free subscriptions to the 'My Legal Mate' student app which is available in many languages

Accommodation is available to international students with genuine need and meet all of the following criteria:

  • have been evicted or are faving imminent eviction
  • have evidence of being laid off employment
  • have less than $1,500 in savings and no other avenues of support

How to Apply

International students in need can call 13 77 88, the NSW Government hotline to find out more.

Students can also contact their education provider to be referred to crisis accommodation support programs, such as the International Student Support Network through the Australian Homestay Network.



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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Skillselect round results Devastation - April 2020 – Accountants to 100 points only 50 visa subclass189 offers

Skillselect April 2020

Summary and Comments by Chris Johnston, Lawyer and RMA:

The 11 April 2020 Skillselect round is the first round after the closure of the borders on 20 March 2020.

So it shows us the policy direction of the Government. The direction is to cut skilled migration dramatically.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impacts and Update for Australian State Sponsored Visas Subclasses 491 & 190

Australian Map State Migration Nomination

The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted the situation for those who have applied for or who are looking to apply for a state sponsored, skilled visa.

Many states have made changes to reduce the availability of state nomination for offshore applicants, as offshore applicants will not be able to travel

to Australia until the border and travel restrictions are lifted.

In this article we will look at the changes to state nomination state by state and the impact of coronavirus on skilled migration.

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Can Indigenous Australians be deported?

Indigenous AustralianCitizenship

Love v The Commonwealth; Thoms v Commonwealth [2020] HCA 3 for full judgement please go to:

Who is an Aboriginal Australian? And should Aboriginal Australians be treated differently to other groups in Australia?

The High Court recently considered whether two men who were born outside of Australia and were not Australian citizens, but had spent most of their lives in Australia,

where within the reach of the “aliens power” conferred by s 51(Xix) of the Constitution.


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How Does the Coronavirus Affect Your Temporary Visa? Students, Backpackers, 482 visa and New Zealanders

Coronavirus Temporary Visa Holders
On Saturday 4 April 2020, Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, Alan Tudge, made the following announcements for those holding temporary visas in Australia.
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Migration Policy Changes Create State Based Competition Over Healthcare Workers and Changes to Occupation Lists



In support of the South Australian Government’s on-going response to the Coronavirus, Immigration SA is implementing visa eligibility criteria changes and will prioritise the processing and nomination of health and medical workers.  

Both the Marshall State Government and the Morrison Federal Government have acknowledged the need to urgently find more medical and health professions to join the Australia’s Healthcare System. 

Epidemiology experts are predicting there will be an intense as well as lengthy infection period for the Coronavirus. 

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Temporary Visa Workers 457 & 482, JobKeeper and JobSeeker - The Impact of Coronavirus COVID-19.

Temporary Visa Workers 457 & 482, JobKeeper and JobSeeker - The Impact of Coronavirus COVID-19.

A lot of businesses are currently being negatively impacted by the coronavirus and many others are staring down the wave about to crash over them.

In the sea of information currently spreading on coronavirus matters, it can be difficult to understand where you and your 457/482 visa holding employees stand.

A lot of businesses are finding it necessary to:

  • Reduce staff salaries
  • Reduce staff hours
  • Stand staff down where there is no work for them to do
  • Make arrangements for staff to work from home

There are strict regulations which apply to Standard Business Sponsors and their relationship with sponsored staff.

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Can I Get JobKeeper or Jobseeker Payments During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Can I Get JobKeeper or Jobseeker Payments During the Coronavirus Pandemic?


This post was last updated on April 14, 2020

We write this post with a very heavy heart for all the employers who have to make the most difficult decision of all, whether to continue to employ people or let them go and place them in unemployment.

As we are now in the second month of what is unprecedented dual health and economic impacts sweeping across the globe the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has immediately affected the very way businesses and people interact with each other.

The recent Australian Government emergency announcements touch on every part of society. From an Australian Migration perspective, across the board, there are difficulties faced by employer sponsors and employees that are sponsored; there are difficulties faced by families that are separated by distance or face uncertainty regarding their visa status as borders lockdown and flight schedules continue to be cancelled; and there are a whole host of temporary visa holders who do not have the protections from the Australian Government that ordinary Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents have access to.

In an announcement from the office of The Hon Alan Tudge MP Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs on April 4, 2020 The Federal Goverment answered our question:

"While citizens, permanent residents and many New Zealanders have access to unconditional work rights and government payments

(including the new JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments), temporary visa holders do not. " Source:  

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COVID-19 - My Australian Visa Has Expired and I Don't Know What to Do!

 expired visa migration

The Australian Government has introduced a new stream for people whose visas have expired or are about to expire.

The temporary visa subclass 408 is no eligible to Visa Applicant’s whose visa was held in the last 28 days and are unable to apply for the same visa or do not meet any eligibility criteria for another visa.

The purpose of the new visa stream provide a pathway for certain former and current holders of temporary visas to lawfully remain in Australia and who would otherwise be required to depart Australia who, but for the COVID-19 pandemic, are unable to leave Australia.

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3 New Visas for Innovation : The Global Talent Visa Program now includes priority processing for permanent Visas.

3 New Visas for Innovation : The Global Talent Visa Program now includes priority processing for permanent Visas.

If you think you are eligible to apply for a GTI, take only 5 minutes to complete our free online GTI assessment form.
Our lawyers and registered migration agents will assess your eligibility and get back to you.

The Australian government’s Department of Home Affairs has recently introduced a new program to boost the movement of highly skilled individuals from around the world to Australia.

This includes a fast-tracked pathway to Australian permanent residency for applicants with global talent in a target sector.

This is one of the first programs of its type where Australia is out and about in the world, looking to track down talented people and asking them to come to Australia.

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At Work Visa Lawyers we are experienced in assisting applicants in all matters relating to Australian visa applications. Our areas of expertise include Student Visas, Skilled Migration visas, Business visas, Employer-Sponsored visas, Partner, and other Family Migration visas, as well as Migration Review Tribunal, Judicial Review, and Ministerial Intervention. Based in Adelaide South Australia, our Immigration Lawyers and Migration Agents provide migration advice to people and businesses from all over the world.

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