Victorian government announces support fund for international students

Victorian government announces $45 million fund to support international students facing financial hardship due to coronavirus.

The Victorian government has announced a $45 million fund to support international students in the state who are facing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic.

International students will receive a relief payment of up to $1100 as part of the government’s emergency support package, International Student Emergency Relief Fund.

“International students are a vital part of our education system, our economy and our community. They give so much to Victoria – not just through the fees they pay, but also through the economic activity they generate for our businesses, and the contribution they make to our vibrant, inclusive society,” the government said in a statement

The payments, which will require co-contributions from university hardship funds, build on existing Victorian Government support provided to international students through the Study Melbourne Student Centre such as free legal aid and mental health services.

More than 150,000 international students currently living in Victoria are also eligible for the Victorian Government’s rent relief program, including subsidies of up to $2,000, and those legally allowed to work in Victoria are eligible for the Working for Victoria initiative, which helps people who have lost their jobs to find new employment.

Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade Martin Pakula said international students give so much to Victoria – it’s only fair they are supported their hour of need.

“This virus doesn’t discriminate and neither do we – we are in this together and we will get through it together.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Training and Skills and Higher Education Gayle Tierney said government will continue to work closely with the sector to give international students the support they need so they can continue to focus on their studies.

International education generated $12.6 billion revenue for Victoria last financial year, supporting around 79,000 jobs, with most students coming from China, India, Nepal, Malaysia and Vietnam.

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