When the COVID-19 pandemic began, internationals students faced a lot of uncertainty. Should they return home? What will happen to their studies if they do? What about the friends and jobs and lives they’ve created here in Australia?
Since then, much has changed, but for international students, the uncertainty has stayed the same.
The issues facing international students
In workplaces that have lost revenue, such as restaurants and retail shops, there have been many layoffs. These job losses have been felt across the board but may be especially hard for international students. In most cases, international students aren’t able to access government support such as JobSeeker or JobKeeper.
For international students who have lost their income, it’s an especially scary time. While evictions have been put on hold, not being able to pay rent is a serious concern that can cause stress and tension between themselves and landlords.
One emerging issue facing international students during the COVID-19 crisis is discrimination. In the past few weeks, we have seen a spike in abuse against people of East Asian backgrounds. This can cause a lot of stress and shame and make it difficult to access help.
What can you do when the laws aren’t working for you?
Don’t get left behind! There are many ways that you can get support for your issues. Whether it be about your job, your tenancy, discrimination you’ve faced or something else, there is help out there.
The first step is to know your legal rights and responsibilities as an international student.
This year for Law Week, Inner Melbourne Community Legal and WEstjustice are running a free webinar for international students to learn about how they can access legal help during the pandemic.
COVID-19 and International Students – Housing, Safety and Work will be held on Thursday 21st at 2pm.
We have also created a list of events that may be helpful to international students, including webinars, legal consultations and more. This year, we’re happy to be able to provide legal advice in languages other than English.