Coronavirus Update for International Students | EMSA Australia

Coronavirus Update – EMSA

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Thank you for visiting and we hope that you stay safe, healthy and as mentally strong as possible during these uncertain times. We are literally all in this together and the information below is designed to help you navigate what’s happening.

As information continues to become available regarding the increasing spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Australia, we wanted to provide you with a source of links to keep you updated about the situation for international students and temporary visa holders in Australia.

The situation is constantly changing so providing links below will allow you to stay up to date with the latest information. We will update this page as more information comes to hand.

Australian border closed to non Australian citizens and residents from 9pm Friday 20th of March 2020. More information on the Home Affairs website.

The above page has updated information on visas, border closure and up to date news an information for international students and visa holders.

Federal and state government

The State and Australian governments health departments continue to effectively manage and contain the impact of this virus for Australians and international visitors.

These government agencies regularly update travel advice including the issuance of alerts as new information emerges.

Please refer to the following links for further information:

Australia has a first-class health system which includes mechanisms for early detection and the effective management of cases and contacts.

Access to superannuation funds

Saturday fourth of April government announced changes for working holiday Visa holders and international students. More information:

Red Cross – fund for migrants

The Red Cross announces fund for migrants in transition.

Here is some important information about this funding:

  • These funds are for people on temporary visas who have no way to support themselves and who have urgent needs. This includes food, medicine and crisis accommodation costs.
  • We have not yet received these funds but hope to increase our existing Emergency Relief and Safety Net program in the coming weeks.
  • Because of COVID-19, we will not distribute funds from our offices, but we will provide assistance by phone and email during business hours. 

We will work as quickly as possible with the Department of Social Services to finalise the details of the funding and expand assistance to people who are experiencing significant vulnerability.

Who is eligible?
You may be eligible for Red Cross Safety Net support if you:

  • are in Australia on a temporary visa
  • are in urgent financial hardship
  • cannot access Centrelink, Medicare or similar services
  • have no income, savings or other financial support (including from family overseas).

More information here:

Tenancy issues

For help on tenancy issues or where to find resources, check the PDF below.

Schools and universities

As of the 18th of March, the Australian Government reaffirmed its position to keep all schools and education institutions open.

Many schools and universities are moving classes online. It’s important as international students that you maintain your course process to avoid any future issues with your visa.

For students at specific schools, you should contact your education provider to find out how they will be dealing with potential shutdowns or online classes.

Information on individual universities response to Covid-19 are here.

Student health insurance policies – Covid-19

A link to each insurers’ information regarding COVID-19 is offered below.

Student Jobs

Student Support


Please be aware that scammers are taking advantage of the current Coronavirus situation through fake online ads.

To learn more go to

Stress and anxiety

Without a doubt, many of us are feeling anxious as we navigate the uncertainty of COVID-19. We’re feeling it too, and we wanted to share some of the tools we’re using to take care of our minds and stay grounded.

All of the resources on this page are free of charge — please share with anyone who might benefit.

Enjoy this curation of content hand-picked to support your mental and emotional wellness through this time. And check back soon as we’ll be updating these resources regularly.


South Australia:

On 21 April 2020 the SA State Government announced that it will provide further funding, on top of the funds made available by the University of Adelaide, Flinders University and the University of South Australia. Each university will distribute funds to international students both currently enrolled or studying in a pathway course, and suffering hardship. The International Student Support Package will include:

$10 million fund for university students significantly impacted by COVID-19 restrictions at the University of Adelaide, Flinders University and University of South Australia to distribute to their pathway and international students.

A $500 emergency cash grant to other international students significantly impacted by the restrictions, currently enrolled in a course, living in South Australia and who meet the criteria

And a one-off $200 assistance payment per student living with South Australian families provided to homestay families.

For further information, visit


Study Melbourne and the Victorian Government’s has opened the applications for a $45 million International Student Emergency Relief Fund.

The fund will support international students in Victoria who are facing financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The fund is being delivered in partnership with Victoria’s tertiary education providers.

The Victorian Government is committed to supporting our international student community during this difficult time. You are not alone. We will get through this together.

The International Student Emergency Relief Fund complements the range of relief programs offered by the Victorian Government and Victoria’s universities and education providers.

For further information, visit


The City of Melbourne has launched a program to support international students who are impacted by job loss, housing insecurity or other financial difficulties associated with COVID-19.

You can now apply for vouchers valued at $200 to purchase groceries and food from the Queen Victoria Market. The vouchers will be available for 1000 recipients.

Food vouchers will be provided to international students in denominations of $5 to be redeemed from all food related stalls at the market.

For further information, visit


Consumer Affairs Victoria includes information for students affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) travel ban and are unable to travel to Victoria and need to cancel their rental accommodation before moving in, or change the date of moving in. includes renting information – Simplified Chinese, renting information – Traditional Chinese.Study Melbourne has created a series of information, links and resources aimed at supporting international students during COVID-19. They also have social work services who may be able to assist with material aid, food vouchers and rent.


The Queensland Government announced a $10m fund for international students experiencing severe financial hardship, increasing the state’s assistance and recovery package to $15 million.

We thank you for your tireless efforts to support our international student community during this unprecedented time. Student welfare is a top priority  for the Queensland Government as we seek to ensure the 100,000 international students in Queensland have a quality experience, even during COVID-19.

For Further Information visit: Study Queensland

Study Queensland has information on student supports available



  • immediate extension of eligibility for Pandemic Isolation Assistance Grants, if they can demonstrate genuine financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. This will provide an immediate payment of $250 per individual or up to $1000 per family
  • for those whose country is safe to return to, assist with travel advice, and if necessary due to genuine financial hardship we will on a case by case basis assist with financial support to do so.
  • To register your interest in support to return to your country of origin, call the public health hotline on 1800 671 738 by 23 May 2020

Western Australia:

  • The Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation has provided the following information for students who may be having trouble paying their accommodation as a result of COVID-19 and loss of jobs: 
    • Department of Communities: Crisis Care – Phone 1800 199 008 / Translating Service Phone 13 14 50 
    • Entrypoint Perth – a free assessment and referral service for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in Western Australia 
    • Study Perth – and COVID-19 Information for Students 
    • Study Perth is establishing the StudyPerth Crisis Relief (SPCR). SPCR is a program established to address the acute needs of international students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions. The SPCR will be accessible, via application, to provide support services to international students in acute need with regard to: 
      • Food
      • Shelter
      • Rights and Support
      • Health and Wellbeing
      • The WA Office of Multicultural Interests also provides information to multicultural communities –  

South Australia:

  • University of Adelaide has announced a Student Support Package, including academic support, well-being planning and emergency financial assistance for: 
    • IT support for remote learning,
    • Accommodation for students in crisis, and
    • Food for students in crisis.
  • University of South Australia has announced a Student Hardship Fund open to all students (including international students) currently enrolled for onshore study at UniSA, who are in financial crisis and struggling with the costs of living and studying as a result of COVID-19. Students are asked to complete an online application through which they will provide evidence of their individual circumstances. Students can apply for the support for the following reasons:
  • Increased financial costs due to technology, equipment or other added requirements for studying off-campus and/or online,
  • Loss of employment,
  • Reduced hours of employment,
  • Inability to pay rent/board/mortgage,
  • Inability to pay utility bills,
  • Additional transport and accommodation expenses, including accommodation, food and incidentals required for medically advised self-isolation,
  • Medical expenses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic that can not be recovered through a personal health insurance policy.


  • RMIT University has announced a $10 million support package for students. Students can apply for emergency financial grants and technology grants. While the former is for students who are affected by  by job loss, housing insecurity or other financial matters associated with COVID-19, the latter is to help students with their IT equipment and internet needs to continue studying remotely.
  • La Trobe University launched the COVID-19 Financial Assistance Program and is offering two grants:
    • Technology Bursary– Provision of a laptop and/or $150 to support students who do not have access to computers or the internet at home
    • Crisis Support Bursary – One-off, $3000 payment for individual students experiencing a significant financial crisis and housing insecurity.
  • Swinburne University of Technology has raised a $600,000 student emergency fund to provide one-off grants to students facing financial difficulties. It offers a grant of up to $1,000 for eligible students
  • Monash University has launched a $15 million Student Compassionate and Hardship package to support vulnerable students during the COVID-19 crisis. The support is in two phases. In the first phase, emergency payment up to $500 were given from April 7 to cover essential living expenses. The second phase started April 14 Monday, in which eligible students can get: 
    • A payment of up to $7000, or
    • A payment of up to $5000 available to students who have incurred reasonable costs in China, Iran or Australia associated with the original inbound bans on travel from these countries.
    • The total amount a student can get is $7,500 dollars.
  • Deakin University has set up a COVID-19 Financial Assistance Scheme and announced additional funding of up to $25 million to support international students for the next six months, case-managed, individual approach to assist.
  • Victoria University has established different kinds of grants and financial support package to assist students in distress due to COVID-19. 
    • Emergency financial grant for students impacted by self-isolation/quarantine requirements or job losses. This grant is for essential living or study expenses related to food, healthcare, textbooks and materials (non-tech) for study up to the value of $100.
    • Technology grant to support students in pursuing studies that have transitioned to digital platforms (e.g. voucher to support the purchase of a wifi dongle up to the value of $100). 
    • Crisis housing support for students who have encountered hardship as a result of the loss of paid employment. Rental assistance grants up to the value of $500.
    • It offers support even if the sponsor of an international student is facing hardship due to the situation. 
  • University of Melbourne has two grants to support students affected by COVID Support and funding for students: the COVID Emergency Support Fund and COVID-19 Student Support Grants 
  • Australian Catholic University – ACU offers short-term student loans to students who are in urgent need of financial assistance, through the Student Loan Scheme

Western Australia:

  • University of Western Australia has also developed a financial hardship grant, providing immediate assistance to students who demonstrate significant financial hardship. This is in addition to arranging emergency food assistance with the support of Foodbank Australia and support to find housing.
  • Curtin University is offering an $8 million worth of assistance package to its students. Housing support and financial bursary is available for students who are facing difficulties at the moment.  It is a need-based scholarship, available to domestic and international students, enrolled in a minimum 25 credit points in semester 1 of 2020. 
  • Edith Cowan University has announced various support mechanisms for students, including a reduction of the Student Services and Amenities Fee. It has also established a Support Grant of $2,000 for eligible students. University’s Student Guild is providing $50 grocery e-vouchers also. 
  • Murdoch University has a $2 million assistance fund for students severely affected financially by the coronavirus and a bursary worth $25 a week to reduce food bills for international students. The university has announced a student assistance fund aiming to safeguard physical and mental health and well being of the students. It has a study support fund for part-time students amounting $500 each and, and full time students can apply for up to $1,000. For those students facing more struggle, additional financial support is also available, which will be decided on a case by case basis.

New South Wales:

  • University of New South Wales has announced various types of support to students, including emergency e-vouchers up to $200for urgent needs and emergency grant up to $2,000 to students who are facing multiple issues associated with COVID-19. 
  • Western Sydney University is giving current international students (who are onshore in Australia) a 10 per cent fee reduction, as well as offering other support measures. The university offers a range of financial assistance to assist students with education-related costs and basic living expenses. This is in addition to the one-off grocery voucher and free nutritious meals available on a regular basis. 
  • University of Wollongong is offering a living expense grant up to $1,500 and internet boost/software purchase loan. Students’ applications will be assessed case by case basis. 
  • University of Sydney has financial assistance for international students due to Covid19 travel restrictions. The university website says financial assistance for international students is currently closed, but general bursaries are available. This can be used to cover essential living and study expenses. 
  • The University of Newcastle has announced a $1 million worth student hardship fund, to support students to pay for their meals, bills and accommodation. 
  • Charles Sturt University, Sydney is offering a student support grant of up to $500 as a one-time payment to students who have been impacted due to COVID-19. Students in most need can get this amount. While full time students are eligible for $500 support, those will less study load will get pro-rata amount. 
  • University of Technology Sydney is providing accommodation and housing support for students. Students who need support can contact UTS Student Legal Service at [email protected]
  • Macquarie University is offering up to $1000 loans to needy students, in addition to an existing loan and grant scheme offering up to $2000.  It includes e-vouchers up to $250 to pay for urgent essentials, one-time grant of up to $2,000 for assisting their study, and up to $2,000 interest-free loans which can be used for moving house etc
  • University of New England has a Student Emergency Assistance Fund – COVID 19 


  • Griffith University is providing interest-free student loans to help students with the cost of education and living expenses. Eligible students can apply for a loan of up to $1,000 to be repaid within 12 months for domestic students or six months for international students.
  • James Cook University has established a food pantry in Cairns and Townsville to help students with basic necessities. 
  • University of Southern Queensland has developed a new needs-based personalised financial support package, the COVID-19 Student Financial Assistance Scheme.This will include: 
    • Living expenses (payments will be dependent on the situation)
    • Provision of technology (one-off payments of up to $1000 AUD)
    • Provision of learning resources (one-off payments of up to $500 AUD)
  • University of Queensland is offering short-term hardship grants or emergency loan of up to $2,000 to a limited number of students. This can be used for rent or bond utility bills, public transport, required study-related equipment, medical expenses etc, but not for tuition fee, overseas health cover, credit card repayment etc. 

Northern Territory:

  • Charles Darwin University has announced more than 25 scholarships to support students affected by job loss, a transition to online study, self-isolation cost etc.


  • Australian National University has set up an Emergency Grants for COVID-19 and committed additional $1 million to provide emergency support to students. This is in addition to the $20 million bursaries announced in early March to help students affected by the travel restrictions from mainland China. Students can apply for an emergency grant to cover accommodation, travel, grocery vouchers, textbooks, medical costs etc. Undergraduate students have to approach ANUSA and Postgraduate students to send an application to PARSA for assistance. 
  • University of Canberra has advised international students in hardship to send an email to [email protected] detailing their hardship, so that the cases would be handled individually. 
    • The UCX Food Pantry has partnered with Canberra Relief Network to provide relief hampers for students.Students need to register before 12pm on Mondays to avail themselves of this. 
    • A dedicated email address [email protected] has also been established to provide assistance to international students who may be affected by travel restrictions.

EMSA OFFICES – Australia

Brisbane office – Open (9am to 5pm)

Gold Coast office – Open (Under appointment)

Melbourne office – closed

Phone: 07 3733-1566

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