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On 3 June Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that Australians who have had their hours of work and income significantly affected due to state lockdowns, will be eligible for a temporary COVID Disaster Payment. This support will be available for Australian citizens, permanent residents and eligible working visa holders, including international students.
Recipients of the scheme will receive up to AUD 500 (EUR 315) per week for losing more than 20 hours of work, and AUD 325 (EUR 200) per week for losing less than 20 hours. To be eligible, they must not possess liquid assets of more than AUD 10,000 (EUR 6300). In Australia, international students can work up to 40 hours every two weeks while studying and unlimited hours during their holiday breaks. The federal government, however, has offered a temporary relaxation of working hours for student visa holders during the pandemic. Students can work for more than 40 hours a fortnight if they work in certain sectors, including aged care service, agriculture and tourism and hospitality.
The pandemic has had a big impact on the financial situation of international students who lived in Australia due to border closure. According to a new survey by the Council of International Students Australia, most respondents reported suffering a financial impact (92%), as they lost their part time or casual job in Australia. However, most international students are stranded overseas as borders remained closed for international students until 17 June. This month, South Australia has approved a plan for return of international students, which is now being considered by the federal government.