Page last updated 31 Dec 2020

International Student Emergency Relief Fund

Applications for the Victorian Government’s $45 million International Student Emergency Relief Fund closed on 31 December 2020.

Our Frequently Asked Questions will help you find information about the International Student Emergency Relief Fund.

About the Fund

  • When did applications close?
  • Where can I get help if I’ve received an International Student Emergency Relief Fund payment and I am still experiencing financial hardship?
  • What was the eligibility criteria for the International Student Emergency Relief Fund?
  • How many students did the International Student Emergency Relief Fund support?

About your application

  • How do I find out about the outcome of my application for the International Student Emergency Relief Fund (Stream Two)?
  • I am waiting for an update on my application for the International Student Emergency Relief Fund. How long should I wait?
  • Can I use an interpreter to speak to someone about my application?
  • Will the information I put in my application affect my student visa or my ability to apply for student visas in the future?
  • Can I apply again if my application was unsuccessful?

Other support

  • I received the International Student Emergency Relief Fund but I am still experiencing financial hardship, can I access other financial help?
  • What can I do if my application is unsuccessful but I am experiencing financial hardship?
  • I’m having issues with immigration, where can I go for help?
  • What other support is available for international students in Victoria?

About the Fund

When did applications close?

Applications closed at 11:59 pm on 31 December 2020.

The Fund has supported over 33,000 international students in Victoria who faced financial hardship through lost wages and work as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

International students in Victoria who are experiencing financial hardship may be eligible for emergency financial assistance through the Extreme Hardship Support Program.

The program is for temporary and provisional visa holders and undocumented migrants who are unable to access Commonwealth income support, and have zero or very little income, savings or community support.

If you received an International Student Emergency Relief Fund payment and you are still struggling to pay for basics like rent, food and bills, you can now apply for an emergency payment from the Victorian Government’s Extreme Hardship Support Program.

Please visit www.redcross.org.au/vicrelief to apply.

Where can I get help if I’ve received an International Student Emergency Relief Fund payment and I am still experiencing financial hardship?

If you received an International Student Emergency Relief Fund payment and you are still struggling to pay for basics like rent, food and bills, you can now apply for an emergency payment from the Victorian Government’s Extreme Hardship Support Program.

The program is for temporary and provisional visa holders and undocumented migrants who are unable to access Commonwealth income support, and have zero or very little income, savings or community support. Please visit www.redcross.org.au/vicrelief for more information and to apply.

Other support for international students include:

What was the eligibility criteria for the International Student Emergency Relief Fund?

Note these eligibility criteria were updated on 27 August 2020.

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

  1. You are an international student enrolled in a private tertiary education provider, public university or TAFE in Victoria, and you were enrolled at 31 March 2020; and
  2. You are an international student who has a 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

More information about the eligibility criteria for Stream Two is available in the Program Guidelines (Stream Two).

How many students did the International Student Emergency Relief Fund support?

Since it opened in May 2020, the International Student Emergency Relief Fund has supported more than 33,000 international students – almost a quarter of the international students currently in Victoria.

About your Application

How do I find out about the outcome of my application for the International Student Emergency Relief Fund (Stream Two)?

We will email you about the outcome of your application. Please check your junk mail folder if you have not heard back from us.

I am waiting for an update on my application for the International Student Emergency Relief Fund. How long should I wait?

We appreciate your patience as we work as hard as we can to process your application and get money to our students as quickly as possible.

We will email you about the outcome of your application. Please check your junk mail folder if you have not heard back from us.

In the meantime, you can find information about other support and services for international students on the International Student coronavirus (COVID-19) support hub on the Study Melbourne website.

Can I use an interpreter to speak to someone about my application?

Please call us on 1800 056 449 and ask one of our friendly team if you need a translator. We are here to help.

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.

Can I apply again if my application was unsuccessful?

Applications for the Victorian Government’s $45 million International Student Emergency Relief Fund closed at 11:59 pm on 31 December 2020, but you can apply for the Extreme Hardship Support Program if you are still experiencing financial hardship.

The Victorian Government’s Extreme Hardship Support Program is for temporary and provisional visa holders and undocumented migrants who are unable to access Commonwealth income support, and have zero or very little income, savings or community support.

Please visit www.redcross.org.au/vicrelief to apply.

The Victorian Government and Study Melbourne are here to support you during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Visit COVID-19 Support for International Students for practical advice and links to more support services and official information.

Other support

I received the International Student Emergency Relief Fund but I am still experiencing financial hardship, can I access other financial help?

If you received a payment from the International Student Emergency Relief Fund and need further support to pay for basics like rent, food and bills, you can apply for an emergency payment from the Extreme Hardship Support Program.

The program is for temporary and provisional visa holders and undocumented migrants who are unable to access Commonwealth income support, and have zero or very little income, savings or community support.

Please visit www.redcross.org.au/vicrelief for more information and to apply.

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

What can I do if my application is unsuccessful but I am experiencing financial hardship?

You can apply for the Extreme Hardship Support Program through the Red Cross.

The Extreme Hardship Support Program is for temporary and provisional visa holders and undocumented migrants who are unable to access Commonwealth income support, and have zero or very little income, savings or community 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.

Please visit www.redcross.org.au/vicrelief to apply.

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

I’m having issues with immigration, where can I go for help?

For all immigration matters, including travel and visas, please visit the Department of Home Affairs website or call the Home Affairs Global Service Centre on (+61) 131 881 between 9am and 5pm AEDT Monday to Friday. You can also find a Registered Migration Agent through the Department of Home Affairs website

What other support is available for international students in Victoria?

We understand this is a difficult time for our international student community and we want to help you find the support you need. There are other Victorian Government support programs open to international students:

Most Victorian education providers provide pastoral care and support services – contact your university, TAFE or private education provider to find out if there are more supports available to you.