On the 28th April, the ACT Government announced that they will provide a $450,000 financial support package that applies to international students at ANU affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under this package, temporary visa holders and international students who are ineligible for Commonwealth assistance will have access to more support. It was passed in partnership with local universities, the Australian Red Cross and the ACT Refugee, Asylum Seeker and Humanitarian Coordination Committee. This financial support package for temporary visa holders is a new addition to the ACT Government’s larger Jobs for Canberrans package, which was announced on the 20th April.
Chris Steel, the Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Tertiary Education stated that “We know that there is a group of Canberrans that is unable to go home, unable to work, and unable to benefit from Australian Government Assistance. The new emergency funding will help with the basics so that people on temporary visas can survive through this.”
This package will give $160,000 to the Australian Red Cross to assist other temporary visa holders such as those on temporary work visas and safe haven enterprise visas through their existing emergency support program. International students in the ACT who have fallen into financial hardship due to COVID-19 will also receive $150,000 in ACT Government Support through the Red Cross, distributed through universities. Temporary visa holders can also access food through the Canberra Relief Network.
ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brain Schmidt said that these measures represent “generous funding from the ACT Government” which “will mean our international students can pay their rent, buy food and cover their bills, allowing them to concentrate on what they are here to do – getting a world class education”.
The ANU has also provided $1 million in relief funding for both domestic and international students who are facing hardship due to COVID-19. Professor Schmidt highlighted that “We’ve also provided a hardship scholarship for our international students taking our courses overseas, and up to $5,000 each to offset the costs caused by COVID-19 and related travel restrictions. This is in addition to ongoing pastoral, social and academic support.”