Being an international student under these circumstances in Australia is becoming very difficult. We know that many of our students have lost jobs, others are complicated trying to understand and adapt to their new online classes, and many more decided to return to their country and abandon their dreams and life in Australia.
But despite all that COVID-19 is putting us through and the discouraging announcements from Prime Minister Scot Morrison, there are some resources that all students can access here in Australia. Read carefully how you can ask for financial and health support in Australia if you are an international student.
Health Support because of COVID-19
The main question we receive is: with my OSHC student insurance, am I covered in case I need to be hospitalised because of COVID-19? The answer is YES! All those who need to be treated because of COVID-19, including international students, can access these treatments at no cost.
If you use your OSHC insurance for a coronavirus evaluation, you will not be charged any extra costs (costs not covered by your OSHC). If you don’t have health insurance, you can still see a doctor for a free coronavirus evaluation. If you have questions or queries about this, contact your health insurance TODAY.
If you feel like you might have Coronavirus, you can use the government’s Symptom Checker for free. It will not only help you identify your symptoms, but will also guide you on how to take action on it, and when it is necessary to take the test or attend the nearest health centre.
In addition, it is good to take care of mental health in times of such instability and isolation. In Australia you can contact the organisation BeyondBlue, who have a phone you can call 24/7 to ask for support. On the other hand, if you are a student in Australia, many schools and universities have a Student Wellbeing Center to which you can go for free. If you need to explore other options enter this link with all available free resources 🙂
Financial support for international students affected by COVID-19
Unfortunately, many of the measures the Australian government is implementing for those who lost their jobs in this situation do not include international students or those on temporary work visas.
Despite that, there is a measure that you can go to if you are financially complicated. If you are a student in Australia for more than 12 months you can request the money from your Superannuation. This means that you will be able to access up to $ 10,000 of your Super in 2019-20 and another $ 10,000 in the period between 2020-2021. But what are the conditions?
To request the early release of your Superannuation, you must meet one or more of the following requirements if since January 1, 2020, you:
– You were fired
– Your work hours were reduced by 20% or more
– If you are an independent worker, and your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20% or more.
This measure will be accepted from April 20, 2020, and you will need to apply to this release from your myGov account and following the instructions of the platform. If you don’t have a myGov account, you can quickly log in and create one.
Before proceeding with this, we recommend that you enter this link from the ATO, the entity in Australia that is in charge of this measure and its implementation.
Lastly, many students, being financially complicated, need reductions in their rent in order to face these costs. Is this possible? The answer is YES! If your work was affected and you cannot continue paying your rent, it is important that you contact your real estate agent or landlord as soon as possible to negotiate a discount. The level of negotiation and help that you can get will depend on your estate agent or the landlord and their flexibility. But do not hesitate to try this option since many students have managed to reduce their rent up to 30% at least, temporarily, until the situation of the COVID-19 improves.
If you are a student in Australia or you are travelling and you feel that your Visa or your Course will be affected by the measures against the Coronavirus, contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org to advise you on your options. Remember that there are various visas and opportunities to choose from before your visa expires. The Puravida team is here to support you in whatever you need! 🙂