In a move which has been hailed by the international students in Victoria, and its stakeholders, the Government of Victoria has announced an AUD 45 million fund to support international students in Victoria.
- Victorian Government will establish a $45 million International Student Emergency Relief Fund.
- Up to AUD 1100 assistance to international students facing financial hardships owing to COVID-19.
- Funds to be delivered in partnership with Victoria’s tertiary education providers.
- More than 150,000 international students currently living in Victoria
“International students are a vital part of our education system, our economy and our community. They give so much to Victoria – not just through the fees they pay, but also through the economic activity they generate for our businesses, and the contribution they make to our vibrant, inclusive society”, the Victorian government said.
International students who have lost their job or had a significant reduction to their employment and are facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic will receive up to AUD 1100 as assistance. The fund will be delivered in partnership with Victoria’s tertiary education providers.
Several international students expressed relief upon hearing the announcement. Ms. Shakya, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Information Technology in Victoria said the ‘announcement has come amidst one of the most difficult time of her life, and thanked the Victorian government for their efforts’.
Similarly, several organisations, who had been requesting the government to include international students in their relief measure expressed gratitude upon hearing the announcement. Keshav Kandel, President of NRNA – Australia said “he is grateful to the Victorian government for helping out the students”. He also hoped ‘the Victorian Government’s decision would encourage other states to provide students the much needed relief during the crisis’.
The Australian chapter of NRNA (Non-Resident Australian Association), under the leadership of Kandel has been assisiting the Nepali community since the onset of the pandemic. NRNA has been providing emergency food relief, coordinating with the communities, and working overtime to assist not only international students, but the entire community as of whole.
Similarly, Hon. Consul General of Nepal to Victoria Chandra Yonzon also thanked the Victorian government for reaching out to the international students. The Consulate Office had been requesting the Victorian Government to hear the pleas of the international students. “I am very happy Victoria did not let its students down”, Yonzon said.
The payments require co-contributions from university hardship funds, and build on existing Victorian Government support provided to international students through the Study Melbourne Student Centre such as free legal aid and mental health services. International students are also eligible for the Victorian Government’s rent relief program, including subsidies of up to $2,000, and those legally allowed to work in Victoria are eligible for the Working for Victoria initiative, which helps people who have lost their jobs to find new employment.