Australian Greens Senator for NSW and Education spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi has said that the federal government has abandoned international students to the risk of poverty and homelessness. Today the government confirmed it would provide no financial support for international student visa holders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Senator Faruqi has called for income support for international students during the COVID-19 crisis.
Senator Faruqi said:
“In this pandemic, international students have lost their jobs, found themselves unable to pay rent or put food on the table, and face living in squalid conditions.
“Hundreds of international students have contacted me over the last few days to share their stories of unemployment, financial stress and precarious living situations.
“Now, the government has confirmed they will not lift a finger to support these hundreds of thousands of students who we welcomed into our country and whose fees and work we've all benefited from.
“International students contribute enormously to the Australian community. But the government has abandoned them completely.
“The government must extend the Coronavirus Supplement to international students and make JobKeeper payments available to them as well.
“Minister Tudge says students should look to family support to get them through this. But many of these students come from countries also severely impacted by the pandemic, where lockdowns and health crises have resulted in business closures and losses of income. Family support can no longer be relied upon.
“If we truly are all in this together, then the ‘all’ must include international students in strife.
“We are at risk of a serious humanitarian crisis if the government does not step in and support international students as a matter of urgency,” she said.