International students facing hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic will receive help with accommodation, thanks to a housing fund worth A$20m recently unveiled by the New South Wales (NSW) state government.
According to a recent statement, “The NSW Government will fund temporary crisis accommodation for stranded international students as part of a A$20 million package protecting the vulnerable and maintaining the state’s track record as a leading global study destination.”
The package includes a temporary housing scheme targeted at “students in genuine need,” to be delivered via approved student accommodation and homestay providers.
The fund also includes
increased support for international students through the International Legal Service NSW
50,000 free subscriptions to the multilingual My Legal Mate student app
a dedicated support hotline
According to the statement, “A new 24/7 international student support service, through the NSW Government COVID-19 hotline (13 77 88), will offer free advice and information about other measures, including the moratorium on rental evictions and medical, mental health, legal and emergency support.”
Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee said, “International students are an integral part of our communities and our economy. Thousands of families around the state depend on the sector – whether through direct employment, homestays or other services.”
People wearing face masks walk through a shopping district in central Sydney on May 19, 2020. Almost 100 people have died and 7,000 cases of COVID-19 have been detected in Australia, but with new daily infections now in low double digits, the government has been keen to reopen the economy. Source: Saeed Khan/AFP
How can international students in NSW apply for crisis accommodation?
The official website states that crisis accommodation is limited to international students with genuine need.
This includes those who have been evicted or are facing imminent eviction, have evidence of being laid off, and have less than A$1,500 in savings and no other avenues of support.
Applications for accommodation will open in the coming weeks. International students are advised to subscribe to the Study NSW mailing list for updates.
Universities Australia Catriona Jackson welcomes the announcement of the housing fund for international students in NSW, but said that the time has come for the Federal Government to survey what is available and join in, ensuring a nationally consistent approach.
“International education is Australia’s fourth-largest export contributing $39 billion to the national economy every year. In NSW, universities contributed $8.3 billion in export income in 2018-19, supporting thousands of local jobs.”
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