Austrade regional market update on the impact of COVID-19

Here are some updates in regards to international students:
 
Coronavirus and Temporary Visa holders 
International students
 
There are 565,000 international students in Australia, mainly studying in the higher education or vocational education sector. They are an important contributor to our tertiary sector and economy, supporting 240,000 Australian jobs.
 
Students are encouraged to rely on family support, part-time work where available and their own savings to sustain themselves in Australia.  As part of their visa application, international students have had to demonstrate that they can support themselves completely in their first year.
Students who have been here longer than 12 months who find themselves in financial hardship will be able to access their Australian superannuation.
 
The Government will undertake further engagement with the international education sector who already provide some financial support for international students facing hardship. For example, we understand there are some education providers that are providing fee discounts to international students.
 
The Government will also be flexible in cases where Coronavirus has prevented international students meeting their visa conditions (such as not being able attend classes).
 
International students are able to work up to 40 hours per fortnight.
 
International students working in aged care and as nurses have had these hours extended to support these critical sectors.
 
International students working in the major supermarkets had also had these hours extended to help get stock on shelves during the high demand. From 1 May, their hours will return to the maximum 40 hours a fortnight as more Australians are being recruited into these roles.
 
Read here for more information about other Temporary visa holders. 
 
The China Service Centre for Scholarly Exchange (CSCSE) has stated that Chinese students will not be penalised for any delay, inconsistency or online courses taken during the COVID-19 pandemic prevention and control period. An unofficial translation is available here.
 
Some students wish to return home but this may not be possible at the moment, due to restricted flight access or borders closing in other countries. If an international student is seeking more advice on these options or wishes to register their needs, they may also get in touch with their local Consular office.
 
The Universities Australia has made a statement on 5 April reaffirming their support for international students in Australia; following the confirmation from Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Scott Morrison on supporting citizens during these challenging times; and Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan also offering his message of support to our student community. 
 
The inspiring story that embodies #InThisTogether comes from Charles Darwin University in the Northern Territory. The university has announced a partnership with local businesses Fresh Point Café and Bamboo Lounge, to offer international students in Darwin a “kindness shake” with free, pre-made meals.

International students may have questions regarding recent announcements on work rights during COVID-19. Insider Guides are hosting a webinar for students to hear directly from the Fair Work Ombudsman on this topic.

We encourage you to visit the Australian Government’s Coronavirus website for the latest news, updates and advice from government agencies across Australia.

Please also visit the Resource Hub on the Study Australia website for assets, updates and materials to help your communications to the sector.