COVID-19 and the consequences on the international student market?

(Pic Above: Kenvale Students and staff volunteering to prepare meals for students as support during COVID-19)

The market for international students in Australia is huge, it accounts for one of our largest markets coming in at $32 billion dollars per year.

This market is continuously growing as more and more international students look to Australia to provide them with education.

According to the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, Australia had 517,519 international students as of January 2020.

The majority of these students are seeking Higher Education, VET courses or ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students).

While studying, many of these students undertake casual employment to support themselves and make up a vast proportion of the hospitality industry. However, with the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, many of these students have lost their casual jobs; their lifeline.

Now, the question is, how will these students be able to cope throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak? Will they receive any help from the Australian government?

This is an industry that needs saving too; many universities, TAFEs, schools and others rely on the international student market.

What the government is doing to help struggling international students during the COVID-19 outbreak

There is not a huge amount of help readily available for international students, nowhere near the amount of help available for Australians.

The government has announced billions of dollars relief packages for other industries and workforces, but nothing for international students as of yet.

Now the automatic response would be that Australians should come first, right? That’s understandable, however, please remember the economic impact international students have on Australia and the vast amount of job opportunities they create for Australians in the teaching and learning fields. This should not be overlooked.

International students at this current stage have very little help, and at Kenvale College we would like to see similar help from the government that we have seen for other people in the hospitality industry, and those who have lost their jobs.

The help that international students need:

At this current stage, there are calls for the Australian government to extend Medicare and social security benefits to international students.

International students need assistance, and just like many Australians, they are currently working in supermarkets, as student nurses and in other roles, which means they too are helping provide necessary services to keep our economy running during this time.

However what happens if they get sick with COVID-19? They cannot work, nor access Medicare benefits.

Kenvale College and similar institutions, train many international students in the hospitality and other industries, and right now, we are seeing our students struggling. If these students do not receive help, it will impact our college and other universities, not to mention the economic impact on the Australian economy and hospitality sector.

The Council of International Students Australia (CISA) which represents the interests and welfare of the students is actively lobbying for the government to provide support.

CISA has stated on Twitter that international students deserve a welfare package, because international students:

  • Are also taxpayers
  • Do not receive Medicare benefits
  • Contribute billions to the Australian economy
  • Call Australia home

CISA in this document has stated the following for international students:

  • Financial aid for casual workers being laid off.
  • Course fee drops as administration costs are lowered, due to online-only mode.
  • Secure placements in institutions for international students.
  • Financial assistance loans need more leniency for what they can be spent on.
  • Welfare packages to students in need.

At Kenvale College we operate in the hospitality industry and know that international students make up a large proportion of the industry. These students deserve financial and social security aid from the Australian government during this unfortunate and unprecedented time.

Kenvale staff volunteer their time to prepare meals for our students as support during this time.

We ask the Australian government to not leave them in the dark.

Support these students during this hardship, as they provide a large fuel for our economy.

Some good news!

Red Cross is receiving funding from the Australian Government for the next six months to deliver emergency relief and casework support for people who are on temporary visas. We have welcomed this news.

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.
  • They have not yet received these funds but hope to increase 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.

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).

Please know that the Red Cross provides assistance based on need. They have to prioritise people with urgent needs, such as families with young children, people with a disability, people who are experiencing harm, people who are vulnerable to COVID-19, and people with physical or mental health issues.

How to apply

They will advise when they have the funds and arrangements in place. In the meantime, you can email them here.

Once you have requested help, they will speak to you and see if they can assist with emergency payments, food deliveries, crisis accommodation costs or other support. 

If you have any questions or require further information on the matter, please do not hesitate to contact Kenvale College here.

A Kenvale Initiative

Click HERE to donate!

2020 has been a challenging year for our country so far, and it is undeniable that our students were impacted by unprecedented emergencies and situations out of their control, especially those who are away from their home countries. 

The vast majority of them are hurting at this time. Many of our Kenvale students who were employed in restaurants, hotels and other hospitality establishments, have lost their jobs as a direct result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The job that was supporting them to pursue their education and career goals.

That’s why we’ve set up the Emergency Student Appeal. Kenvale College was established as a not-for-profit educational institution  that aims to provide education for the whole person and considers hospitality as the main channel to improve society. Therefore, we are calling on the public here to help our students during this critical time. 

The welfare and wellbeing of our students remain the highest of our priorities. Our management and staff have donated their time and efforts to offer assistance to students in need. 

But there is more that we can do.

We will be able to offer more help with your support: and help to alleviate some of this pain caused and help our students to continue on with their studies and normal lives. 

100% of your donation goes directly to the Kenvale students in most need. You’ll support them with food to eat: in forms of groceries, grocery vouchers and our culinary lecturers and staff who will be cooking and packing ready-to-eat meals. This is a lifeline that will relieve the stress and anxiety that they are experiencing. If you are in a position to help, please consider donating to this appeal. 

We will get through this and come out on the other side. And we will do it, by working together and supporting those who need our help.

Click HERE to donate!

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