Updated: April 5, 2020 5:29:49 pm
In a relief to foreign students, including from India, facing financial hardships during the coronavirus pandemic, the Australian government has announced that those who have completed one year of stay in the country were eligible to access their superannuation.
The latest move comes a day after Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that overseas students were not eligible for any financial support as under their visa arrangements, it was a requirement for them to support themselves for a year in Australia.
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However, the Acting Immigration Minister Alan Trudge issued a statement, saying ”students who have been here longer than 12 months, who find themselves in financial hardship will be able to access their Australian superannuation.” “The Government will undertake further engagement with the international education sector who already provide some financial support for international students facing hardship.. for example, we understand there are some education providers that are providing fee discounts to international students,” he said.
“There are 565,000 international students in Australia, mainly studying in the higher education or vocational education sector. They are an important contributor to our tertiary sector and economy, supporting 240,000 Australian jobs,” he noted.
India is the second largest source of students for Australia with more than 140,000 enrolments recorded in 2019 in the country’s several educational institutions. Trudge added that the students are encouraged to rely on family support, part-time work and their own savings to sustain themselves in Australia.
“As part of their visa application, international students have had to demonstrate that they can support themselves completely in their first year,” he added. The government will also be flexible in cases where the pandemic has prevented foreign students in meeting their visa conditions such as not being able attend classes.
The government also relaxed working hours for international students allowing them to work for up to 40 hours per fortnight from May 1 this year in places like elderly care facilities and major supermarkets, while nurses have had these hours extended to support these critical sectors.
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