As part of a temporary government initiative to help employees during lockdowns, international students in Australia will be entitled to receive an emergency payout. Workers who live or work in a Commonwealth-defined hotspot, such as the one in the Greater Melbourne Area, would be eligible for the payment, according to the federal government.
Recipients will get up to $500 per week if they miss more than 20 hours of work each week, and $325 if they miss less than 20 hours. They can’t have more than $10,000 in liquid assets.
Australian citizens, permanent residents, and qualified working visa holders, including overseas students, will be eligible for the aid.
Members of Australia’s foreign education sector have praised the fact that overseas students are being involved. The current lockdown in Victoria as a result of the new infection has had an impact on employees, according to Ravi Lochan Singh, president of AAERI.
He continues, “I applaud the Australian government’s shift in policy, which includes financial aid for impacted temporary employees, even those who were not full-time workers.” This should assist students who were in normal part-time employment as well as those who were working full-time on a post-study work visa.
The council of International Students Australia’s national president, Belle Lim, told The PIE that this is possibly the first time that the federal government has recognized international students and temporary visa holders as “eligible residents” who deserve equal support for facing equal, if not greater challenges as a result of the pandemic.
This support is crucial in assisting individuals in the community who are most vulnerable to a prolonged lockdown.
Students had to choose between staying in Australia in spite of “enormous challenges and scant assistance” or returning home with little hope of completing their study onshore, according to Lim.
Many students have reported missing meals, jeopardizing their housing arrangements, fearing course cancellation owing to a lack of funds, or even experiencing homelessness, Lim added.
In an interview with The PIE, Robert Parsonson, executive officer of ISEAA, describing the hardships faced by foreign students during the epidemic in similar terms. He said that the administration had failed to provide help during the initial lockdowns of 2020, causing overseas students to queue for food hampers.
The federal government is catching up to include temporary visa holders, who are increasingly a critical labor pool for the hotel and tourist businesses.
The prime minister’s initial appeal for temporary visa holders to ‘return to their country has shifted to allowing students working in hospitality and elderly care to work in Australia for as long as they like.
Many in the global education sector are concerned about the effects of Australia’s policies on international student mobility. According to recent research by CISA, 93% of foreign students stuck abroad have encountered major mental health concerns.
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