Summary of COVID-19 supports for international students
More and more students are suffering from financial hardship and mental health issues as we have entered the second half of the stage 4 restrictions. It is a tough time for everyone, especially for international students. Let us give you some useful links for potential support.
Finance related support
Community Support and Food Relief
This is a guide that shows the places where you can get food or vouchers. Most of them are free while a few ask for a small donation. Please note that you need to contact the organisation before going to collect the food.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Worker Support Payment
If you get tested and need to isolate at home or you have been tested positive for COVID-19 and been required to quarantine for 14 days and you are not able to go to work, you may apply for a $300 – $1,500 payment. You will need to show the evidence to prove that you do not have any sick leave entitlement or any income during this time to be eligible for this fund.
COVID-19 Early Release of Super
If you have held a student visa for more than 12 months, you may be able to take your super fund early.
All international students who study in a Victorian Institute and live in Victoria may be able to apply for this fund. You will need to show that you have lost your job or have a huge decrease in your income. The successful applicant will get a one-off payment of up to $1,100.
If you are experiencing financial hardship and are paying more than 30% of your income for your rent, you may want to look at this fund. The fund is up to $2,000, which will go directly to the landlord, from the Department of Health and Human Services.
*If you or someone you know is in immediate need of crisis or emergency accommodation, please contact the state-wide after-hours service on 1800 825 955 (free call).
If you are a utility bill owner, such as for electricity and gas, and are not able to pay overdue bills due to financial hardship, this may be something you would want to look into. You will not get the money directly. The fund will go to your utility providers and they will apply the credit to your account.
As long as you are allowed to work in Australia regardless of your visa type, you will be able to register in this program. Simply sign up on Sidekicker and start job hunting!
Wellbeing related support (free of charge)
This Way Up has a set of free wellbeing courses, such as coping with stress, intro to mindfulness and more. You will have 90 days access to the courses from the day you sign up.
Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service
If you are feeling worried or struggling to cope during COVID-19, please ask for help. Beyond Blue has all sorts of mental wellbeing support and they also work with Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS), which can provide free translation support.
Free Mental Health Assessment Tool
Black Dog Institute launched a free tool for you to assess your anxiety and depression level. If you are not too sure about your mental health, you can do a simple assessment by yourself. Please, always ask for help when you need it.
Study Melbourne Confidence Crew – weekly event
Join this energetic, fun, online Zoom session that will help you build confidence, connection, energy and learn some super cool ‘how to adult’ stuff along the way.
We believe you must have thousands of questions during this period. Study Australia has launched a program called “International Students Ask”. If you do have any urgent questions you want answered, the Australian Government has created a dedicated email and hotline for international students at email@example.com and 1300 981 621 (9am to 5pm AEST, weekdays).
Insider Guides, along with a host of experts and industry professionals, bring together a diverse audience from across Australia in weekly and interactive webinars, offering opportunities for live Q&A sessions, resource sharing and support to international students. The information provided could be the answer you have been looking for. Click the link to watch the previous and upcoming webinars.
Hopefully, this information may be of use to you. If you are really struggling, please reach out for help. Talk to your family, friends, or the Ruby team. We will get through this together!
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