Support to Schools and Landlords in light of the impact of COVID on international students

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The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has expanded and is a rapidly evolving challenge with significant health and economic impacts.

In response to the Coronavirus outbreak, federal and state governments are acting swiftly and decisively and have announced measures to support the health and economic systems.

Federal and states government have brought packages which provide timely support to workers, households and businesses through this difficult time.


The packages support those most severely affected and they are designed to position the Australian economy to recover strongly once the health challenge has been overcome.

Regions and communities that are heavily reliant on industries such as tourism, agriculture and education have been most severely affected by the economic impacts of the Coronavirus.

The international education industry is at the forefront of impact from the COVID-19 crisis.

Australians and international students have been stood down from work and they are uncertain about when and if they will come back to work.

International education sector contributed $37 billion to the local economy last year and it supports nearly 250,000 jobs nationally.

Education providers are struggling to keep running their business and they will not survive unless there is an immediate intervention from the government.

Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Mexico represent the four largest Latin American student source countries for Australia (representing over 91 per cent of Latin American students in Australia).

Colombia and Brazil alone accounted for 80 per cent of all Latin American students studying in Australia. Mexico, Peru, Chile and Argentina represented nearly 16 per cent of all Latin American students in Australia.

Given the highly unusual and rapidly evolving circumstances of the outbreak international students are now in unchartered waters.

International students are not eligible for Centrelink payments and other forms of financial support offered to residents and citizens of Australia.

As international students from these countries, we are writing to respectfully request two temporary measures from Federal and/or State governments:

(i)            measures that that allow the Department of Education, Skills and Employment to provide support for Education Provider to retain their students by providing subsidies to the schools so they are not required to commence procedures to cancel the visa of students who are unable to pay the school costs as they are unable to work due to COVID-19.

(ii)           measures that provide sort of financial support to Landlords or subsidy so they are not required to start eviction proceedings against residential tenants who are unable to work due to COVID-19.

The spread of the Coronavirus represents a significant challenge that is directly affecting all Australians.

It has adversely affected the Australian economy in significant ways, and it will set back many businesses – which were only beginning to recover from the recent summer’s bushfire crisis.

However, we believe that by taking these measures the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments will be acting decisively in the national interest to address the economic consequences of the Coronavirus, without further permanent or structural impact on local economy as well as it will maintain the protection of those most vulnerable.

We are dealing with a very unusual challenge and we respectfully request that you take these factors into account and put in place the suggested measures.

We trust that this information is sufficient but invite you to contact us if you require anything further.

Please contact the writer if we can be of further assistance.

Yours sincerely,

Union of International Students of Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Mexico in Australia