Page last updated 19 Oct 2020

International Student Emergency Relief Fund (Stream One)

If you can’t find the information you need, please call us on 1800 056 449. We can arrange an interpreter free of charge.

About the Fund

  • What are the two streams of the International Student Emergency Relief Fund?
  • How much money can I apply for under the International Student Emergency Relief Fund (Stream One)?
  • Why doesn't my university's website have information about the International Student Emergency Relief Fund?
  • How will students be paid?
  • When is the closing date for applications?
  • Why are university students getting different amounts?
  • If I’ve received an International Student Emergency Relief Fund (ISERF) payment and am still in financial hardship, can I apply again?
  • Will the information I put in my application affect my student visa or my ability to apply for student visas in the future?
  • Why is my payment less than the maximum amount of $1100 available?
  • Can I appeal the outcome of my assessment?
  • Why has my institution closed applications even though the fund is still open at other institutions?

How to apply

  • How do I apply for the International Student Emergency Relief Fund?
  • I am studying with a public university or TAFE in Victoria. How can I apply for the fund?
  • Is the International Student Emergency Relief Fund separate to the relief funds provided by my university?

Eligibility

  • Who is eligible for the International Student Emergency Relief Fund?
  • Am I eligible for the fund if I’m facing financial hardship because my family has been impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19) and can’t support me?
  • I had a job that I was due to start after March 2020, but it has been impacted by COVID19. Am I eligible?
  • I lost my job before March 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Am I eligible to apply?
  • Can I apply for the fund if I was self-employed or worked as a sub-contractor?
  • Can I apply for the fund if I have been in Australia for less than a year?
  • Is there a minimum number of hours I need to work to be eligible for the fund?
  • What if I received cash as a payment for work?
  • What should I do if I don’t have payslips and employment documents?
  • Can I apply for this fund if I have received other financial support from another source?
  • My university is not included on any of the stream lists, does this mean I cannot apply for the International Student Emergency Relief Fund?
  • Can I apply for a payment under Stream One if I have already received a student welfare payment from my university or TAFE?
  • The financial support I received from my university was a ‘one-time payment of financial assistance’, can I access any more support?
  • I’ve been given financial support from my university, but this was only $200-$500, what happened to the money available through the International Student Emergency Relief Fund?
  • I already applied for my university’s financial support and was unsuccessful. Does this mean I cannot access further support through my university?
  • Can I apply for a payment if I am studying at a Victorian education provider that is based interstate?

Other support

  • I’m not eligible for the International Student Emergency Relief Fund, can I access other financial help?
  • If my application is not successful, what else can I do if I am facing financial hardship because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic?

About the Fund

What are the two streams of the International Student Emergency Relief Fund?

Stream One of the Fund gives money to Victorian universities and TAFEs to process and distribute funds to their international student who are in need. By working together, we are able to provide more support to more international students. International students studying at universities or TAFE should contact their education institution to access the fund.

Stream Two of the Fund is for international students studying with private education providers. These students need to apply directly to the Victorian Government, not to their education institution.

How much money can I apply for under the International Student Emergency Relief Fund (Stream One)?

Universities and institutions will have different arrangements and limits in place. We are working with the sector to ensure that payments have a meaningful impact on successful applicants’ needs.

For TAFE students, a payment of up to $1100 will be made to eligible students.

How will students be paid?

Students successful in their application under Stream One will be paid by their education provider.

When is the closing date for applications?

Contact your university or TAFE for advice on their closing date for fund applications. You should submit your application as soon as possible.

Why are university students getting different amounts?

Universities assess individual students’ applications and then provide additional funds on top of what is offered through ISERF, in effect boosting the overall payment. Different universities have different arrangements and budgets, so their payment amounts may vary. Please contact your university if you have questions about the outcome of your application.

If I’ve received an International Student Emergency Relief Fund (ISERF) payment and am still in financial hardship, can I apply again?

No. The fund only offers a one-off payment to successful applicants. Please visit our coronavirus (COVID-19) support hub for other support available to international students.

My institution has closed applications for the fund, what should I do now?

Ask your institution for information about their closing date. These will vary depending on your education provider. Your university or TAFE may have paused the fund temporarily to work through student applications, or to update the eligibility criteria. They may also have given out all their allocated funds.

Our coronavirus (COVID-19) support hub has information about other supports for international students.

Will the information I put in my application affect my student visa or my ability to apply for student visas in the future?

The Victorian Government will only use the information in your application to check that you are eligible for this fund, and to provide payment to you if your application is successful.

We will check the information you give us with the Commonwealth Government’s Department of Education, Skills and Employment, and with the Commonwealth Department of Home Affairs. We do this to ensure that the fund is only paid to eligible international students. We will not use your information for any other purpose.

We will manage your personal information in accordance with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic) and other applicable laws. Information about your privacy rights is available on the Office of the Information Commissioner’s website.

Why is my payment less than the maximum amount of $1100 available?

Different universities have different arrangements and budgets, so payment amounts may vary. Please contact your university if you have any questions about the outcome of your application.

Can I appeal the outcome of my assessment?

Please contact your university or TAFE if you have questions about the outcome of your application.

Why has my institution closed applications even though the fund is still open at other institutions?

Ask your institution for information about their closing date. These will vary depending on your education provider. Your university or TAFE may have paused the fund temporarily to work through student applications, or to update the eligibility criteria. They may also have given out all their allocated funds. Please visit our coronavirus (COVID-19) online support hub for other supports available to international students.

How to apply

How do I apply for the International Student Emergency Relief Fund?

Victoria’s International Student Emergency Relief Fund will be delivered in two streams.

Stream One - International students studying at a university or TAFE

If you are a student at a university or TAFE, please apply directly to your institution. You can find the link to your institution’s application page on our list of eligible universities and TAFEs in Victoria (Stream One).

Stream Two - International students studying at private education providers and colleges

If you are enrolled with a private education provider or college in Victoria, you should apply through Stream Two, not Stream One. These education providers include private vocational education and training providers, private higher education providers, and private English language colleges.

For more information about how to apply please visit International Student Emergency Relief Fund – information for private education provider students (Stream Two).

I am studying with a public university or TAFE in Victoria. How can I apply for the fund?

If you are studying at a Victorian university or TAFE, please contact your institution’s student support services for information on how to apply for support from the International Student Emergency Relief Fund. You can find a list of contact details for eligible universities and TAFEs in Victoria here.

If you are enrolled with a private education provider or college in Victoria, you should apply online through the Study Melbourne website. For more information about how to apply through Stream Two, visit the information for private education provider website.

Is the International Student Emergency Relief Fund separate to the relief funds provided by my university?

The International Student Emergency Relief Fund provides additional money so the government, together with education institutions, can help as many international students in Victoria who are experiencing financial hardship as possible. Our universities and TAFEs have existing welfare programs and are best placed to assess individual students’ welfare needs which is why they will manage the application process.

Eligibility

Who is eligible for the International Student Emergency Relief Fund?

To be eligible to apply to the International Student Emergency Relief Fund (Stream One), you must meet all four eligibility criteria:

  1. You are an international student enrolled in a public university or TAFE in Victoria, and you were enrolled at 31 March 2020; and
  2. You are an international student who has a current student or bridging visa (with a student visa application in process); and
  3. You are an international student who currently resides in Victoria, Australia and is presently physically located in Victoria; and
  4. You were employed in Victoria any time between March and July 2020, and have experienced exceptional circumstances of financial hardship due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and those circumstances of hardship arise from:
      - A significant reduction in hours of employment OR
      - Loss of employment due to a business shutdown AND
      - You are unable to supplement lost income from other sources of financial support.

Am I eligible for the fund if I’m facing financial hardship because my family has been impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19) and can’t support me?

No. The fund is for international students who were working any time between March and July 2020 and have since lost work due to the impacts of the pandemic. International Student Emergency Relief Fund (ISERF) is one of several types of support available to international students. Visit our coronavirus (COVID-19) online support hub to find out more.

I had a job that was due to start after March 2020, but it has been impacted by COVID19. Am I eligible?

To be eligible to apply, you must show that you were employed in Victoria any time between March and July 2020, are in financial hardship due to lost work, and don’t have other financial support.

I lost my job before March 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Am I eligible to apply?

No. You must have been employed any time between March and July 2020 and lost your job or lost work shifts since that time to be eligible for the payment. If you are in financial hardship because you lost work since March due to the pandemic, and you don't have other financial support, you can apply.

Can I apply for the fund if I was self-employed or worked as a sub-contractor?

You can apply if you were self-employed or working as a sub-contractor and your earnings dropped any time between March and July 2020 due to the impacts of the pandemic on your work.

If you are self-employed or working as a sub-contractor, please provide the name of the person or organisation which pays you for most of the work you do. If you were self-employed, or working as a contractor, you can provide:

  • Bank statements
  • Bank transactions records
  • Invoices
  • Remittance advice

You do not need an Australian Tax File Number (TFN) to apply for the fund.

Can I apply for the fund if I have been in Australia for less than a year?

Yes. It doesn’t matter if you have been in Australia for less than one year.

Is there a minimum number of hours I need to work to be eligible for the fund?

No. If you can show you meet the eligibility criteria, you can apply for the fund.

What should I do if I don’t have payslips and employment documents?

  • TAFEs and universities may accept different types of employment documents, so please check with your institution for more detail.

Can I apply for this fund if I have received other financial support from another source?

If you are a TAFE student, yes. For university students, this will vary depending on your university, so please contact your student services team to check.

My university is not included on any of the stream lists, does this mean I cannot apply for the International Student Emergency Relief Fund?

Please contact our friendly team on 1800 056 449 so we can investigate. If you are studying remotely with a university that does not have a campus in Victoria, you do not meet the eligibility criteria for this program.

Can I apply for a payment under Stream One if I have already received a student welfare payment from my university or TAFE?

If you have received support from your institution and you are still in genuine hardship due to lost work or significant loss of income, you should contact your university or TAFE and let them know. They will tell you if you are eligible for further assistance.

The financial support I received from my university was a ‘one-time payment of financial assistance’, can I access any more support?

Your university will receive additional funding through the International Student Emergency Relief Fund to support student payments on a co-contribution basis. You should contact your university to see if you qualify to access additional funds available through International Student Emergency Relief Fund.

I've been given financial support from my university, but this was only $200-$500, what happened to the money available through the International Student Emergency Relief Fund?

Applications for the International Student Emergency Relief Fund have just opened. Your university will receive additional funding through the International Student Emergency Relief Fund to support student payments on a co-contribution basis. The fund will provide additional money so together we can help as many international students in Victoria who are experiencing financial hardship as possible. You should contact your university directly to update them on your situation and see if you qualify.

I already applied for my university’s financial support and was unsuccessful. Does this mean I cannot access further support through my university?

Public institutions such as universities and TAFEs are working with the government on a co-contribution basis to ensure that together we can support as many students in need as possible. If your circumstances have changed and you have faced loss of income through reduction in work, you should contact your university. They are best placed to assess your need and provide support through their existing programs and through the additional International Student Emergency Relief Fund funding.

Can I apply for a payment if I am studying at a Victorian education provider that is based interstate?

You must live in Victoria and be enrolled at a university or TAFE listed on the Stream One section of this website to be considered for this fund.

Other support

I’m not eligible for the International Student Emergency Relief Fund, can I access other financial help?

If you can’t access the International Student Emergency Relief Fund, you may be able to access financial help through the Extreme Hardship Support Program. This program supports temporary and provisional visa holders and undocumented migrants, including international students, who:

  • are struggling to pay for basics like food and bills, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
  • have little or no income or savings
  • cannot access other government income support.

The program provides payments of up to $800 per person, and more for families. To find out more download the DHHS fact sheet. You may also be eligible for an additional payment of $800 if you are still experiencing financial hardship after two months.

Visit www.redcross.org.au/vicrelief for information about how to apply.

If you need assistance with your online application, please call the Red Cross on 1800 855 240.

Visit our coronavirus (COVID-19) support hub for more information, support and services, including a directory of community support and food relief.

If my application is not successful, what else can I do if I am facing financial hardship because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic?

If your application is not successful and you are an international student in Victoria facing financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, you should let your university or TAFE student welfare office know.

You can also access other Victorian Government support services for international students.

If you can’t access the International Student Emergency Relief Fund, you may be able to access financial help through the Extreme Hardship Support Program.

In addition to the hardship funds, pastoral care and student support services available through Victorian education providers, the Victorian Government is providing the following support to international students: