Written by Thilinika Wijesinghe.
There has been a lot of misinterpretation and false information among fellow Sri Lankan nationals across Australia and in Sri Lanka. This article is to cover valuable information to those international students, TR Holders, and their parents. In line with the media release by Hon. Alan Tudge on 4 April 2020 this article is published.
International student recruitment is an important contributor to our tertiary sector and Economy. Australian Education is ranked at a high level. The government encourages international students to continue their studies during this time. These students will have to rely on family support and their own savings to sustain themselves in Australia. As all international students are aware as part of the Genuine Temporary Entrant, they have demonstrated that they can support themselves during their education. Hence there is an expectation they are able to support themselves in Australia.
For students who have lived for longer than 12 months and accrued their superannuation as part of their part-time work can access their superannuation if they are in financial hardship.
The Govt. will be flexible with meeting visa conditions related to attending classes as Institutions are changing to online studies during this crisis period.
The extended work rights are only granted for certain cohorts where all other students will have to abide by their standard allowed hours. Such as International students working in major supermarkets when the announcement was made, Aged care workers and Nurses.
From 1 May 2020, it will continue to apply to international students who are working in Aged care and Nurses.
Temporary Skilled visa holders
These visa holders can be either on 1.5 years to a 4-year visa. These visa holders can access up to 10,000AUD in their accrued superannuation before the 30 June 2020.
For visa holders who have been stood down, but NOT laid off will maintain their visa validity and businesses will have the opportunity to extend work visas. They can also do so even with reduced working hours without breaching the condition during this time. (All other requirements must be satisfied)
The work visa holders who have been laid off due to coronavirus and is unable to secure a new sponsor will need to consider leaving the country to avoid breaching any conditions. After the pandemic crisis, if those visa holder gets employed to work in Australia, the time previously spent in Australia on the previous work visa will be counted towards the Australian Permanent Residency.
Visitor Visa holders who are unable to support themselves and have no family support may also consider returning to their country of residence.
International students who have queries regarding their enrolment or need information about the classes, any flexibility in studies/scholarships must speak to the institution first.
If you are unsure if the OSHC or the Medical Insurance covers the COVID 19, don’t hesitate to contact the Medicare provider along with your unique policy number.
Superannuation access information can be gathered by contacting the Superannuation provide directly.
We all are in this time together. Many Sri Lankans who are settled here are extending assistance with food and rations. Get connected to them through Social Media channels.
You can also contact the Sri Lankan consulate office to find the level of support they can offer.
For assistance with Mental health wellbeing, please contact Headspace, Lifeline Australia or Young Beyond Blue.
Stay connected with your family, friends and your Education/Migration agent via online channels. We will need to support each other during this time and get through this situation together.