Assistance and Options for International Students during COVID-19 Pandemic

By |2020-06-04T04:34:21+00:00April 6th, 2020|0 Comments
In this current situation, some of you may have questions pertaining to whether you should return to your home country or whether you should remain in Australia. We have summarised the facts so that you can make the best decision specific to your circumstances.
  • Australian government is taking a flexible approach in relation to student visa conditions, such as attendance or the use of online learning. To summarise, on 20 March 2020, the Australian Government Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) and Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) indicated that as long as international students remains enrolled with their colleges and Universities, and the assessment requirements of the course allow it, the location of the student and the mode of delivery does not form an impediment to the attainment of an Australian qualification. For more information, please visit  https://www.teqsa.gov.au/latest-news/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-latest-regulatory-advice. Please take note that this does not mean that you can fulfill the Australian study requirement in your application for the Temporary Graduate Visa (Subclass 485) – Post-Study work stream, you will still need to meet the 2 academic year requirement. For example, if you are enrolled in a 2-year Masters program, in Semester 1, you chose to study online in your own country, and return to Australia to study the remaining semesters onshore from Semester 2 onwards, you will NOT be able to fulfill the 2 years academic requirement and apply for the Temporary Graduate Visa (Subclass 485) – Post-Study work stream. Additional time spent prolonging your semesters (for example if you failed a unit/units or defer the units) will not be counted.
  • Australian government has also temporarily relaxed the 40 hours work limitation per fortnight applied towards international students if they are currently working in major supermarkets (Aldi, Coles, Woolworths, IGA and etc) to help get stock on shelves due to high demand, and in the aged care and nursing sectors.
  • Even though there is not much support from Australian government to international students right now, the Australian government is currently engaging with the international education sector to seek for supports to our students. Good news is, if you have been in Australia longer than 12 months and find yourselves in financial hardship, you will be able to access your Australian superannuation (for up to A$10,000), we suggest that you contact your Superannuation fund to find out more about, or obtain more information via Australian Taxation Office at https://www.ato.gov.au/General/COVID-19/Support-for-individuals-and-employees/
We have listed the assistance that ECU and Murdoch Uni are currently offering to international students. For the minority of our students who are studying at other universities and Colleges, we recommend that you check with your University or College on the assistance that they are offering to international students.

CURRENT STUDENTS AT ECU

  1. ECU has put in place a $2 million Student Support Package to assist their students. ECU Support Grants of up to $2,000 per student will be made to students who are experiencing severe financial hardship and are struggling with the cost of living. For more info, please visit https://bit.ly/2UMgK1y
  2. Hardship Payment Scheme – All international students who are suffering financial difficulty are automatically eligible for a payment plan for their Semester 1 tuition fees. Your due date has automatically been extended to 1 May 2020.
  3. Grocery Grants – ECU’s Student Guild is providing a limited number of $50 grocery e-vouchers. You need to be a Guild member to be eligible but membership is free. For more info, please visit https://bit.ly/3dWQlWf
  4. ECU will be offering full refunds on Semester 1 and full year parking permits cancelled before 7 April 2020. Email parking@ecu.edu.au
  5. A limited supply of laptops and data packs are available. You can apply at https://bit.ly/2RfFBs8
  6. ECU is removing exams to make your study life easier and more flexible. Your Unit Coordinators will advise you of an alternative task for your unit.

CURRENT STUDENTS AT MURDOCH UNIVERSITY

  1. Murdoch has developed Student Support Packages for students coping with changes that are the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including financial hardship. The package includes access to a $2 million Student Assistance Fund for students severely affected by COVID-19.
  2. Murdoch also supports a Guild Food Bank and is awarding an Essential Bursary worth $25 per week to reduce food bills.
  3. Murdoch is offering a Technology Bursary for all students equivalent to a $100 data pack to support online learning and a limited supply of laptops for those without access to IT equipment.
  4. No parking fees will be charged for the period of online learning.
  5. Murdoch has also put in place an Academic Safety Net – if students happen to fail a unit in Semester 1, it will not be recorded on their transcript or negatively affect their Grade Point Average.

JOB VACANCIES

Some of you may have lost your part-time or causal jobs. Below are some companies that are still hiring. You can check them out to determine if any of the jobs are suitable for you.
You can also check out the more established job websites such as the following for more job opportunities:

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions or require assistance. We are here to assist and support you!

About the Author:

ACEcelent Education & Migration is a one-stop education and migration specialist serving you from Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, Launceston, Bhutan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Taiwan. We are dedicated to help you fulfil your education goals and migration dreams!

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