COVID-19 Support for International Students

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International students contributed $34 billion to the Australian economy in 2018. The payment of tuition fees and living costs make international education Australia’s third biggest export after coal and iron ore.

Australia hosts around 690,000 international students each year.

Most international students also work part time to help pay tuition fees and living costs. International students commonly work in cafes and restaurants, drive taxis and delivery vehicles, clean buildings, labour on construction sites and work in child-minding or the hospitality and events sector. Through their work and taxes they support Australian business and the community.

COVID-19 has decimated the jobs done by international students and plunged hundreds of thousands of international students into financial crisis overnight. International students work, pay tax, and make a significant contribution to the budget and Australian society but are not eligible for support from the Australian Government.

Many international students along with Australian students and other temporary and casual workers are facing a period of intense uncertainty and hardship. International students are just as affected as other Australians by the impact of COVID-19. The plight of many international students in Australia is real.

We ask you to support this petition and its request for temporary assistance from the Australian Government until COVID-19 is over.   

This petition calls on Anne Ruston, MP, Minister for Families and Social Services, to recognise the plight of international students affected by COVID-19 and to pay Special Benefits to international students who lost their jobs. These payments should continue until the COVID-19 shutdown is over.

It also calls on the Dan Tehan, Minister for Education, to extend a fee moratorium to international students in Australia who are affected by the COVID-19 related closure of their education institutions.

International students came to Australia for an on-campus education. Courses are now closed or provided on-line. International students are being short changed. This petition requests a uniform fee moratorium be imposed on all institutions until they re-open and resume face-to-face course delivery.

This Petition finally calls on skills accrediting bodies, state governments, and David Coleman, MP, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, to adjust accreditation, nomination, and visa rules confronting international students applying for Graduate and Skilled visas.

Many Graduate and Skilled visa policy settings require international students to work in jobs that no longer exist. There must be some adjustment to these rules to reflect the COVID-19 related disappearance of these jobs and the impact this has on visa pathways for international students.

Thank you for your support.

VisAustralia is a advocacy-active migration law firm based in Canberra that has been working with the international students and visa applicants for the past 15 years. For further information about this petition you can contact us on +61 2 6247 7577 or