The pandemic may have pulled the rug from under the feet of international students in Australia, disrupting their lives, classes, as well as part-time work. Many may have questions such as, “Do I have access to vaccinations in Australia? Is there financial support for students affected by the pandemic? Is health or wellbeing support available?” Here’s a quick round-up of what international students in Australia should know:
Free vaccinations in Australia
International students can get free vaccinations in Australia. The Department of Health notes: “COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone in Australia, even if you are not an Australian citizen or permanent resident. This includes people without a Medicare card, overseas visitors, international students, migrant workers and asylum seekers.”
Students can find a clinic where they can receive a vaccine using the COVID-19 vaccine eligibility checker. Residential aged care workers are eligible to receive the Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine regardless of age.
City of Melbourne and cohealth have established a new COVID vaccination centre at Melbourne Town Hall, prioritising rough sleepers, refugees and INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS. Book online. Those who get a jab has a chance to win a $1000 shopping voucher! https://t.co/dCLYoI6lJE pic.twitter.com/lhAWsRglU8
— Gary Lee (@garyleecious) September 1, 2021
Mental health support
Different states and territories are offering various forms of support to international students in Australia. International students in New South Wales will have access to a new digital mental health and wellbeing toolkit.
The state government has allocated 360,000 Australian dollars for this and other programmes that will enhance employability, entrepreneurship, plus research and development skills.
NSW Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women Bronnie Taylor said: “Being isolated from friends and family for long periods is difficult for everyone and this is especially true for international students right now,” said Taylor. “I want each and everyone to know that it is completely normal to feel stressed, overwhelmed or uncertain and there is specialist support available if they need it.”
ISANA International Education Association has been allocated A$100,000 to deliver the Lived Experience Toolkit. More details can be found here. Study in Melbourne has listed free online and phone support services here.
More work hours for students working in critical sectors
Due to the challenges brought upon by the pandemic, the Morrison government has offered a temporary relaxation of work rules for student visa holders working in certain sectors.
Students can work for more than 40 hours a fortnight if they are employed in the aged care sector; by a registered National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provider; are enrolled in a healthcare-related course and are supporting the health effort against COVID-19, as directed by health officials; in the agriculture or tourism and hospitality sector; or in a supermarket, or associated distribution facility, located in an area impacted by COVID-19 lockdown restrictions for the duration of the lockdown.