COVID-19 International Student Support and Welfare

As the world battles COVID-19, it can be a particularly confusing and stressful time for you as a student in Australia. Around the country, education institutions, government agencies and the Australian community are banding together to support each other during this uncertainty. It’s important to remember that we’re all #InThisTogether.

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Education

The latest information from your education institution, the Department of Education and Australia's regulators

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Health and Wellbeing

Information and services to help you stay physically, mentally and emotionally healthy

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Visas and Travel

The latest visa and travel advice from the Australian Government.

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Accommodation

Latest information regarding accommodation and housing support in Australia

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Financial Support

The latest information on student support through hardship funds and welfare support.

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Education Provider Support Directory

Stay up-to-date with your university, TAFE or school’s COVID-19 information and welfare support response.

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International students are important and valued members of the Australian communities where they live, study and work.

The 750,000 international students who call Australia home make an incredible contribution to our country. They enrich Australia’s melting pot of cultures and backgrounds and inspire curiosity by bringing new and diverse perspectives from around the world to our communities. At the same time, international students are given a unique opportunity to learn about Australian culture and develop friendships and connections that remain with them for life.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented times for all.  We know for many international students, the current experience of studying here may not be what you thought it would when you chose to call Australia home.

To all international students studying in Australia – or who may consider studying here in the future – we would like to assure you that despite these recent challenges, Australia remains a safe, welcoming and multicultural country. 

Whether you are in Australia or currently in your home country, we understand you may be concerned about what lies ahead. Rest assured we are working to ensure you feel safe and supported when studying in Australia. 

We will continue to support all international students as we work through these uncertain times. We are all #InThisTogether.

Recent updates

13 June 2020

The National Cabinet – comprising the Prime Minister and all state and territory premiers and chief ministers – has agreed to work closely and carefully to help international students return to Australia, through a series of small and scaled pilot initiatives. The pilot will be subject to expert health advice and states and territories will consider their local circumstances, so that everyone in Australia can keep living, working and studying in a COVID safe way.

Australian government agencies will continue working closely to support and inform students and education providers, and explore every possible option for the safe return of international students to Australia.  

Follow us at @StudyAUOfficial for the most up to date information.

Know where to go for the right information.

1.     Visit http://australia.gov.au for latest government COVID-19 announcements, news, updates and advice from government agencies across Australia (English and in-language).

2.     Download the Australian Government’s "Coronavirus Australia" app for the latest official advice and real-time updates directly to your mobile phone. It is available via the Apple App StoreGoogle Play, or via a WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android.

3.     Whether you're in Australia or abroad, follow us at @StudyAUOfficial for the most up to date information. 

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4.       If you are concerned about your enrolment, fees or other issues related to your studies, contact the Australian Government dedicated email international.students@dese.gov.au or hotline for international students 1300 981 621 (8am to 8pm AEDST Monday to Friday - calls within Australia only).

Supporting the welfare of international students

How are government agencies and education institutions supporting the wellbeing of international students?

Download the infographic for more information

 (PDF 172.9KB) Download (PDF 172.9KB) the State and Territory student welfare support map

 Download the infographic - get through COVID-19 and set yourself up for success

Visit your state and territory website to find out more on your student welfare and support options.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if I have COVID-19 symptoms?

Please seek medical help if you are concerned about your health. People sick from COVID-19 may have the following symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath.

To speak to a registered nurse for health advice, call Healthdirect on 1800 022 222. You can call this number at any time.

If you are in an emergency situation, call 000

Do I have access to health cover?

As an international student, you don’t have access to Medicare. However, your travel insurance or Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) should cover things like trips to the doctor, some hospital treatment, some medicines and ambulance cover.

If you have questions regarding your cover, the best thing to do is contact your provider directly. Here is an outline of the information Australia’s OSHC providers have released in regards to COVID-19.

I’m struggling to meet my living expenses. How can I access welfare support?

Many universities and other education providers are offering a range of support to students including fee deferrals, deferred studies or payments, food and accommodation support and mental health and other medical support. All international students are encouraged to stay in touch with their education providers about the range of support which is available to them at this time.

Search our Australian Education provider list to find out what support is being offered by your institution.

If you have been studying in Australia for more than 12 months, and you are in financial hardship, you will be able to access your Australian superannuation. Apply at the myGov website from April 20.

If you an international student employed by a major supermarket or working in aged care, the Australian Government has announced special working arrangements to extend your working hours until May 1, 2020. Contact your employer for more information.

You should also contact their Embassy or local Consular Office to see if help is available there.

Can I be evicted for not paying rent during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The Government has made a range of support measures available to protect international students against eviction from rental accommodation on the same basis as is offered to all members of Australian society.

For specific state and territory information, visit your rental authority for more information.

I’m not sure if I should stay in Australia or whether I should return home.

International students who are unable to support themselves financially for the next six months in Australia are encouraged to return to their home country and families. We understand however that getting home may be difficult at the moment, due to restricted flight access or borders closing in other countries. We will continue to keep you informed of measures available to support you until you are able to depart.

I feel anxious about my situation and alone and don’t know who to turn to.

It’s OK to not feel OK.

Our message to students is that you are not alone. The Australian community is here to support you. We are all #InThisTogether.

If you are experiencing mental health and well-being issues please contact;
- Lifeline Australia (13 11 14)
- Beyond Blue (1300 224 636)
- Headspace (1800 650 890).

More resources

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