Tag: Australia international students

Australia: 40 % struggling international students from India & China


By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 17 September 2020: The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt the world with a big loss of life and the decline of economies. Australia is no exception despite massive government support and subsidies to people and businesses. One section in Australia feels betrayed and left out – international students. They were kept out of the jobkeeper and jobseeker schemes considered the economic lifeline in the country.

The Guardian Australia (17 Sept. 2020) story by Luke Henriques, ‘Callous treatment’: international students stranded in Australia struggle to survive’ is quite revealing.

The story based on a survey of 6,000 international students by the University of NSW & the University of Technology, Sydney says 40 percent of the surveyed students were from China and India. And, 7% from Nepal.

Last month, 524,000 international students in different universities and institutions were still staying in Australia, the guardian report reveals.

Much more sad things happened as one reads the story. Of the surveyed, one in six were on food relief from charities and community organizations.23 % faced verbal abuse/racism and out of these 35% were from China.

Many countries have included international students in the subsidies for pandemic relief but not Australia. The consequences are inhuman suffering and Australia’s reputation as a land of ‘Fair go’ is at stake. The PM’s comment ‘time to make your way home’ for those who are considered the country’s cash cows did not help.

International students hail Kaushaliya Vaghela MP’s advocacy of Victoria’s $45 million International Student Emergency Relief Fund

Kaushaliya Vaghela MP at the RMIT with staff & students.xyz12345

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 4 May 2020: International students and their leaders from across the board in Victoria, have while welcoming the Victoria Government’s $45 million International Student Emergency Relief Fund to beat the Corona crisis, hailed Kaushaliya Vaghela MP’s advocacy of the same in the Parliament through her Members Statement* on 23 April 2020. International students will receive a one relief payment, which covers demonstrated lost income up to $1,100.

Victoria University Labor Club VP, Katherine Abourizk says, “At Victoria University, we are seeing how hard the impacts of COVID-19 are hitting our students, and particularly our international students. Times like this show that we are all in this together, and with the true support of our Victorian MP Kaushaliya Vaghela, our international students are now eligible for a $45-million-dollar relief package. The impact this will have on our international students’ community is immense and allows our fellow students to continue their studies, pay their rent, and put food on the table. We are all in this together, and together our communities can come through this pandemic!”

La Trobe University Labor Club President, Finn Cosolo is of the opinion, “At La Trobe, the COVID-19 pandemic has struck students hard, particularly the international student community. Due to visa restrictions, they are one of the most vulnerable groups, particularly regarding job security and academic performance. Victorian MP Kaushaliya Vaghela’s long-standing commitment and advocacy in this area were integral to the announcement of $45 million for these students. This package aims to relieve the financial burden faced by our international students, allowing them to continue their studies and contribute crucially to the La Trobe community.”

“On behalf of the International Students Community, I would like to recognize, appreciate and thank Kaushaliya Vaghela for her efforts to address the issues of international students during these unprecedented times. We value the example you impart in the society through your compassion and positive influence,” says Roja Mudundi, Women’s Officer of La Trobe Student Union.

RMIT student leader Anand Singh says, “As an international student, I understand and empathize with the hardships and struggles of other international students here. It gives me immense joy to congratulate the fellow international students on this grant of relief by the Victorian Government when it was least expected. I would like to thank Kaushaliya Vaghela MP, former international student and state MP of Victoria, for her great efforts in making this possible for us. We need more leaders like you. I am extremely inspired by you every day. I am proud of this visionary and empathetic government who is working each day to help us in these difficult times.”

“I am dedicated to work towards and support the community of international students, being one myself, especially in these tough times. I am proud to recognize and appreciate the persistent efforts of Kaushaliya Vaghela MP and her team in raising concerns of financial support for the international students and achieving the same with the support of the Victorian Government. Thank you Kaushaliya Vaghela MP for the continuous advocacy of this relief fund for international students, NUS delegate Vibhor Bangwal told SAT.

* https://beta.parliament.vic.gov.au/parliamentary-debates/Hansard/HANSARD-974425065-6506/

Vice Chancellors welcome Victoria’s $45 million support package for international students


By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 30 April 2020: Different sections of the university sector and the wider community has welcomed the announcement by the Victorian Government to establish a $45 million support package for international students facing hardship due to COVID-19.

Victoria now joins the Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australian, Tasmanian and Western Australian governments in assisting international students who, like their Australian peers, have lost casual or part-time jobs as a result of the global pandemic.

Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said almost all states and territories, together with every Australian university, now offer support for international students.

“Many international students now find themselves in extremely difficult circumstances due to the economic impact of COVID-19. Unlike their Australian classmates, there will be those who won’t have family or local support networks to fall back on,” Ms. Jackson said.

“Assistance from all levels of government adding to that from our universities is vital at this time of growing need.”

“University support initiatives now include providing emergency grants, scholarships, accommodation, food, and low cost or free IT equipment.”

Ms. Jackson welcomed the Victorian support package and the co-contribution from the state’s universities.

“Universities Australia welcomes the Victorian Government’s announcement to work with universities to assist the more than 100,000 higher education international students in the state who are facing hardship after losing their part-time jobs,” she said.

“International education is Australia’s fourth-largest export. In Victoria, universities contributed $7.5 billion in export income in 2018-19, supporting thousands of local jobs.”

Mr. Sharif As- Saber, Foundation Director, Master of International Business Program at RMIT University says, “The emergency relief fund for international students will help struggling international students during this unprecedented lockdown period. The Vic government website has created a link where students can register their interests. However, it is not clear how long will it take to receive the money.

It would be great if the government expedite the process. Although this will not be enough to support struggling international students during this unfortunate and uncertain situation, it will, at least, provide the students with some mental boost and sigh of relief.

Especially after the Prime Minister’s reckless ‘time to go home’ comment in early April, international students have received this positive news from the Victorian government. Regardless of the amount of money in the offer, this is heartening! I must thank and congratulate the Victorian Government for coming up with this innovative initiative!”

International students should be part of the COVID-19 higher education package: National Union of Students (NUS)

NUs slogan

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Jack Guo, Vibhor Bangwal and Ivanku Su.

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 14 April 2020: The National Union of Students (NUS), the premier body of university students in Australia, while welcoming the Scott Morrison government’s higher education package announced recently, has criticized it’s prioritizing domestic students over international students. The $ 18 million packages, the NUS says was already budgeted.

An NUS media release on 12 April 2020 says: “While this decision gives universities and private providers a small amount of stability during this crisis, this funding guarantee fails to properly safeguard our campuses and the million students and staff who rely on it. There needs to be a significant funding injection to ensure that our sector is able to survive, and our Government must ensure that its COVID-19 response measures supplement and support those in our sector.”

Talking to SAT, Jack Guo, Post Graduate Rep, MONSU Monash Caulfield says, “In this time of crisis, the university and government should provide more support to international students as they have suffered huge financial losses and lost campus experience, for which they came here.”

“For higher education to survive beyond COVID-19, Jobkeeper must cover universities like they do charities, as some are projected to lose 25% of their funding. For the sake of these students’ wellbeing and the long term viability of our education, the government must give subsidies to international students to ensure they are able to survive COVID-19 and
continue their study,” says the NUS.

NUS delegate Vibhor Bangwal and RMIT Indian students leader says, “During this pandemic where every student is struggling with their studies and situations, the government and universities should provide more support for international students as they are losing their personal and household income, also jobs and struggling with the new study mode as they have to endure huge pressures of life. The new international student who have just arrived weren’t able to enter the university or cope up with their course are thrown into the system without knowledge. In these situations, the government should welcome international students and help them.”

“Higher education was the first sector significantly hit by the COVID-19 crisis. Unless the government makes a commitment to funding and supporting our entire sector, they are running a likely risk of causing generational damage to our universities. tafes, and research. We are calling them to act. The NUS statement says.

In a Facebook post-International student and Education Officer RUSU Akshay Jose says, “The government needs to pay more attention to how COVID-19 is affecting the lives of students, especially international students as we are one of the most valuable communities of students living in Australia.

Ivanka Su, NUS International Students Officer pledges that “During this critical phase, we should have empathy and understand each other rather than blame, or ‘go back to their country’, that is a complete disparage.

The NUS will definitely stand in solidarity with our international counterparts.”

Australia asks international students to ‘rely on family support, part-time work where available and their own savings to sustain themselves in Australia’

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 4 Apri 2020: Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, Australia wants its 565,000 international students to fend for themselves. The government says in a press statement, “As part of their visa application, international students have had to demonstrate that they can support themselves completely in their first year.” What status international students have after the first year is not known. Plus, overseas students face the grim reality of so many small businesses closed wiping out casual jobs.

In his media conference on 3 April, PM Scott Morrison said, ” “They’re obviously not held here compulsorily. If they’re not in a position to support themselves, then there is an alternative for them to return to their home countries.”

The PM said it was “lovely to have visitors to Australia in good times”. But now they should “make your way home” and “ensure that you can receive the supports that are available…in your home countries.

“At this time, Australia must focus on its citizens. Our focus and our priority is on supporting Australians and Australian residents with the economic supports that are available.”

The rather grim news is reinforced from a media statement from the office of The Hon Alan Tudge MP, Minister For Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services, and Multicultural Affairs who says in a media statement emailed on the morning of 4 April 2020:

“All students who come to Australia…have to give a warranty that they are able to support themselves for the first 12 months of their study. That is not an unreasonable expectation of the government, that students would be able to fulfill the commitment that they gave.

International students

There are 565,000 international students in Australia, mainly studying in the higher
education or vocational education sector. They are an important contributor to our tertiary
sector and economy, supporting 240,000 Australian jobs.

Students are encouraged to rely on family support, part-time work where available and their
own savings to sustain themselves in Australia. As part of their visa application,
international students have had to demonstrate that they can support themselves
completely in their first year.

Students who have been here longer than 12 months who find themselves in financial
hardship will be able to access their Australian superannuation.

The Government will undertake further engagement with the international education sector
who already provides some financial support for international students facing hardship. For
example, we understand there are some education providers that are providing fee
discounts to international students.

The Government will also be flexible in cases where Coronavirus has prevented
international students meeting their visa conditions (such as not being able to attend classes).

International students are able to work up to 40 hours per fortnight.
International students working in aged care and as nurses have had these hours extended to
support these critical sectors.

International students working in the major supermarkets had also had these hours
extended to help get stock on shelves during the high demand. From 1 May, their hours will
return to the maximum 40 hours a fortnight as more Australians are being recruited into these roles.”

There are at present 2.17 million people on temporary visas in Australia. This includes 8,000 skilled medical professionals, 203,000 international visitors, 565,000 international students, 672,000 New Zealanders on subclass 444 visas, 118,000 on Working Holiday Visas which have work rights and another 185,000 other temporary visa holders.