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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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