International students studying in Australia have suffered comparatively badly from COVID restrictions.
Those who stayed in Australia and lost their jobs did not have access to Commonwealth Government assistance and because they did not qualify for JobKeeper, they were more likely to lose their job. Without income or family support, many went hungry, relying on City of Sydney’s COVID-19 relief grants, including the major donation to OzHarvest for food relief, and assistance from other non-government bodies. Many were also at risk of homelessness.
I visited the fantastic new International Student Hub supported by the City of Sydney and Sydney Alliance, which will share information, offer social worker support and give advice about legal rights and entitlements like minimum wages to international students: > HERE. See the Sydney Morning Herald report: > HERE.
Sydney has been host to nearly 40 per cent of Australia’s international students, many of whom live in the inner city near universities and colleges. It is an embarrassment that while the multibillion dollar university sector relies so heavily on business from international students, our governments can abandon them in a flash, leaving them vulnerable.
With Lord Mayor Clover Moore, I’ve asked the NSW Treasurer to provide funds to enable education providers to build support for international students including by providing public transport concessions and targeted mental health programs, and to develop dedicated quarantine facilities.
My joint letter with Sydney Lord Mayor is > HERE