Page last updated 19 Oct 2020

International Student Emergency Relief Fund (Stream Two)

Our Frequently Asked Questions will help you find information and support to apply for the International Student Emergency Relief Fund.

If you can’t find the information you need, please call us on 1800 056 449. We are here to help you and can arrange an interpreter if you need.

About the Fund

  • How much money can I apply for under the International Student Emergency Relief Fund (Stream Two)?
  • How will students be paid?
  • When is the closing date?
  • If I’ve received an International Student Emergency Relief Fund (ISERF) payment and am still in financial hardship, can I apply again?

How to apply

  • How do I apply for the International Student Emergency Relief Fund (Stream Two)?
  • What should I do if I’m having trouble submitting my application?
  • Can I use an interpreter speak to someone about how to apply?

Eligibility – general

  • Can I apply for the Fund using my partner’s or parent’s Confirmation of Enrolment document if I am a dependent on a student visa and not enrolled as an international student?
  • Who is eligible for the International Student Emergency Relief Fund?
  • How do I know if my institution is a private education provider?
  • What should I do if I have more than one Confirmation of Enrolment (COE) and want to apply for the fund?
  • Are high school students eligible to apply?
  • Are Foundation students eligible to apply for this fund?
  • Can I apply for a payment if I am studying at a Victorian education provider that is based interstate?
  • Am I eligible if I live in Victoria but plan to study interstate?
  • Am I eligible to apply for the fund if my education provider has closed down?
  • 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?
  • Can I apply for the fund if I have been in Australia for less than a year?
  • Will the information I put in my application affect my student visa or my ability to apply for student visas in the future?

Eligibility – visas

  • I don’t have a current student visa, I am on another visa (including 485 Post Study Work Visa, bridging visa or tourist visa). Am I eligible?

Eligibility – employment

  • 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 this grant if I have received other financial support from another source?
  • Why is lost employment a requirement for the fund?
  • What if I received cash as a payment for work?
  • Is there a minimum number of hours I need to work to be eligible for the fund?

Documentation

  • What documentation will I need to provide to support my application?
  • How can I make sure I have the right supporting documentation and evidence to support my application?
  • Will my application be considered if I can’t provide all the supporting documentation?
  • I need to provide a scanned copy of my student visa, and I don’t have a scanner. What are my options?
  • What if my supporting documents are not in English?
  • How many payslips do I need to provide?

About your application

  • How will my application be assessed?
  • How do I know if I have successfully submitted my application?
  • After I submit my application, when will I hear back?
  • Why haven’t I heard back about my application?
  • Why was my application unsuccessful?
  • Can I apply again if my application was unsuccessful?
  • Can I view or change my application form after it is submitted?

Other support

  • I’m not eligible for the International Student Emergency Relief Fund, 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 help?

About the Fund

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

Payments of up to $1100 will be made to eligible students. If you are successful, we will contact you to let you know how much your payment will be.

How will students be paid?

Payment will go directly to the Australian bank account you provide in your application.

When is the closing date?

The funding is available until the end of 2020 or until the fund is exhausted. Given the high number of expressions of interest received since the announcement of the Fund, we recommend you submit an application as soon as possible.

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) online support hub for other support available to international students.

How to apply

How do I apply for the International Student Emergency Relief Fund (Stream Two)?

If you are enrolled with a private education provider or college in Victoria, you should apply through Stream Two. Private education providers include private vocational education and training providers, private higher education providers, and private English language colleges.

Before applying, check that your education provider is on our list of eligible private education providers and colleges in Victoria (Stream Two).

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

What should I do if I’m having trouble submitting my application?

If you are applying for the International Student Emergency Relief Fund as a student with a private education provider, please apply through Stream Two.

  1. It is recommended that you use a desktop or laptop computer to complete your application rather than a mobile device.
  2. The Department will only accept PDF, JPEG and PNG formats for attached documentation.
  3. Try clearing your cookies and cache by pressing control + shift + delete and the following the prompts. Once you have cleared the cookies and cache you will need to close all internet browsers and open a new browser.
  4. Try using a different web browser such as chrome.
  5. For detailed information about how you can apply for the International Student Emergency Relief Fund please visit the Study Melbourne website Please take care to read the Frequently Asked Questions and the Application Guide to ensure you have all of the correct documentation, including your visa documents, to support your application.

Can I use an interpreter to speak to someone about how to apply?

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

Eligibility – general

Can I apply for the Fund using my partner’s or parent’s Confirmation of Enrolment document if I am a dependent on a student visa and not enrolled as an international student?

No. To be eligible for the Fund, applicants must be an international student enrolled in a private tertiary education provider, university or TAFE in Victoria, as at 31 March 2020.

If any information in your application is found to be false or misleading following payment, the funds must be repaid.

Terms and conditions for students at private education providers are outlined in the International Student Emergency Relief Fund Program Guidelines.

Students at universities and TAFES should contact their institution for their terms and conditions.

If you are not eligible for the fund, other programs are available to help you. Please visit our coronavirus (COVID-19) support hub for more information.

Who is eligible 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 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:
  5. - 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 do I know if my institution is a private education provider?

If you are studying with an eligible private education provider in Victoria, your CRICOS provider will be on our list of private tertiary education providers.

If you are a student at a university or TAFE, you need to apply through your institution. You can check our list of eligible universities and TAFEs in Victoria.

What should I do if I have more than one Confirmation of Enrolment (COE) and want to apply for the fund?

Use the Confirmation of Enrolment that shows where you were enrolled as an actively engaged student at 31 March 2020. Provide a copy of your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) form in your own name to show you were an actively engaged student who was enrolled in a course at 31 March 2020.

Are high school students eligible to apply?

No, high school students are not eligible for financial support under this fund. If you are an international student enrolled with a Victorian high school, please contact your school or the Victorian Department of Education and Training for more information about support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Are Foundation students eligible to apply for this fund?

Yes, if you meet all other criteria, then you can apply for the International Student Emergency Relief Fund.

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

Students must live in Victoria to apply. You will not be considered for a payment under this fund if you are not currently in Victoria, even if you are enrolled with a Victorian private education provider.

Am I eligible to apply for the fund if my education provider has closed down?

If you can show you were enrolled with an eligible education provider on 31 March 2020 and you can meet the eligibility criteria, then you can apply 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?

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.

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.

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.

Am I eligible if I live in Victoria but plan to study interstate?

To be eligible you must be enrolled with a private tertiary education provider operating in Victoria. You can be studying any tertiary level course, including a certificate, diploma, advanced diploma, bachelor’s degree, postgraduate certificate or diploma or a masters degree.

Eligibility – visas

I don’t have a current student visa. Am I eligible?

You can apply for the Fund if you have a student or Bridging Visa A or B (with a student visa application in process) and you can meet all four eligibility criteria.

If you don’t have an eligible visa there are other programs available to help you. Visit our coronavirus (COVID-19) support hub for more information.

Eligibility – employment

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

There is no minimum number of hours you must work to be eligible for the Fund. You need to show you were working at any time between March and July 2020. Check our Application Guide for information about the documents you can provide to show you are eligible.

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 any time between March and July 2020 and your earnings dropped 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 this fund if I have received other financial support from another source?

Yes.

Why is lost employment a requirement for the fund?

Most international students in Victoria work to support themselves while they study. Most international students aren’t eligible for support such as JobKeeper or JobSeeker, designed to help people who lost shifts or lost their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis. The International Student Emergency Relief Fund was set up to fill this gap.

There are other programs that may help you, including the Rent Relief Program and Working for Victoria.  Please visit the International Student coronavirus (COVID-19) support hub on the Study Melbourne website for information on the range of services and programs available to help you.

What if I received cash as a payment for work?

'Cash in hand’ refers to cash payments made to you, from your employer where tax is not taken out. It is against the law for your employer to pay you in this way. Often when people are paid cash in hand, they are not paid the correct rates, or entitlements like superannuation.

It is only legal for your employer to pay you cash in hand if tax was taken from your earning and sent to the Australian Tax Office (ATO). Check your payslip to see if this was done. Consider seeking legal advice if your employer insists on paying you cash in hand. You can get free and confidential legal advice with International Student Work Rights Legal Service.

If your employer pays you cash in hand, you need to declare this cash income to the ATO, otherwise you may also be breaking the law.

When applying for the fund, you need to submit up to two documents, such as a payslip and/or evidence of your rosters, to show that your financial hardship is through loss of work.

If you study with a private education provider, you can provide two documents from this list:

  • Payslips
  • Termination letter
  • Emails showing a reduction in hours/shifts
  • Bank statements
  • Bank transactions records
  • A letter from a lawyer. This could be an employment, tenancy or community lawyer.

The types of evidence you can use to prove that you meet the eligibility criteria are provided in the Application Guide (Stream Two).

Documentation

What documentation will I need to provide to support my application?

See our Application Guide (Stream Two) - International Student Emergency Relief Fund to help you understand what documents you need and how to apply.

If you are applying for the International Student Emergency Relief Fund (Stream Two) you will need to provide information and evidence to show that you meet the eligibility criteria.

You must provide the correct documentation in JPEG, PDF or PNG format

If you have checked our website and you still can’t find the information you need you can call us on 1800 056 449.

How can I make sure I have the right supporting documentation and evidence to support my application?

Take care to understand and provide the correct documentation or your application will not be successful. Only JPEG, PDF or PNG formats will be accepted for all supporting documentation.

You need to provide the following documentation (as attachments) to support your application:

Attachment 1: Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) form (screenshot or PDF). Provide a copy of your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) form in your own name to show you were an actively engaged student who was enrolled in a course at 31 March 2020.

Attachment 2 and 3: Valid Student Visa Documentation

If you hold a student visa, provide:

  1. valid student visa document supplied by the Department of Home Affairs (usually a VEVO Visa Details Check record).

If you hold a bridging visa, provide:

  1. a copy of your bridging visa grant notification document AND
  2. VEVO Visa Details Check record from the Department of Home Affairs.

These documents can be accessed from your ImmiAccount with the Department of Home Affairs. Your VEVO Visa Details Check document must show that it was created within the past five days of when you submit your application. If your VEVO Visa Details Check is more than five days old please generate a new one by visiting the Department of Home Affairs Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) website before submitting this application.

Attachment 4: Passport (scan)

Attachment 5: Evidence of employment

Attachment 6: Evidence of reduction of hours or loss of employment

Will my application be considered if I can’t provide all the supporting documentation?

You must provide all the information and documents requested. Unfinished applications will not be accepted.

Check our Application Guide (Stream Two) - International Student Emergency Relief Fund for information on how to correctly fill out your application.

I need to provide a scanned copy of my student visa, and I don’t have a scanner. What are my options?

Follow the step-by-step instructions on the Department of Home Affairs, Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) website. You must provide copies of your visa documents in PDF, JPEG or PNG file formats. We recommend you use a laptop or computer to do this. If you cannot access a laptop or computer, contact your education provider for assistance.

If you hold a student visa, provide:

  1. valid student visa document supplied by the Department of Home Affairs (usually a VEVO Visa Details Check record).

If you hold a bridging visa, provide:

  1. a copy of your bridging visa grant notification document AND
  2. VEVO Visa Details Check record from the Department of Home Affairs.

These documents can be accessed from your ImmiAccount with the Department of Home Affairs. Your VEVO Visa Details Check document must show that it was created within the past five days of when you submit your application. If your VEVO Visa Details Check is more than five days old please generate a new one by visiting the Department of Home Affairs Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) website before submitting this application.

What if my supporting documents are not in English?

All documents must be in English.

How many payslips do I need to provide?

You can provide a maximum of two documents that show evidence of employment any time between March and July 2020 and evidence of reduction in hours or loss of employment.

All evidence must be in English and include all the information requested. Files must be in either PDF, JPEG or PNG formats.

We recommend you use a laptop or computer to make your application. If you cannot access a laptop or computer, contact your education provider to seek their assistance.

For a list of documents you can provide to show evidence of employment, check our Stream Two Application Guide

About your application

How will my application be assessed?

If you are applying for the International Student Emergency Relief Fund under Stream Two:

  1. The information you provide must be correct and complete, or your application cannot not be processed.
  2. You must provide documents showing that you meet all the eligibility criteria, including information about your financial situation.
  3. We will assess your application and email you to let you know the result.
  4. If you are successful, we will email you and transfer the money into your nominated bank account.

How do I know if I have successfully submitted my application?

When you save or submit your application form for Stream Two, you will receive an email from Economic Development Enquiries.

After I submit my application, when will I hear back?

We are experiencing a high volume of applications and are working to get through these as quickly as possible. We appreciate your patience as we work as hard as we can to get money to our students.

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

Why haven’t I heard back about my application?

We are working very hard to process every application quickly to get this money to the students who need it most. 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.

Why was my application unsuccessful?

There are several reasons why an application may be unsuccessful:

  • You did not provide all of the information we need, or your VEVO Visa Details Check was more than five days old. If you reapply, check our Application Guide to make sure your documents are correct.
  • You may have made a mistake and given us incorrect or incomplete information.
  • The CRICOS code was not on our list of eligible private tertiary education providers.
  • The document to show your employment did not have the information needed.
  • The Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) you gave us did not show where you were studying at 31 March 2020. If you have more than one CoE, attach the one that shows where you were studying at 31 March 2020. 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.
  • One or more of your attachments could not open. Attachments must be in JPEG, PDF or PNG format.
  • You did not meet the eligibility criteria.

If your application couldn’t be processed or if your situation has changed, we invite you to apply again.

Use a desktop or laptop computer to apply, not a mobile device.

Please call us on 1800 056 449 if you need help. You can request an interpreter, free of charge.

Can I apply again if my application was unsuccessful?

If your application couldn’t be processed or if your situation has changed, we invite you to apply again.

We recommend using a desktop or laptop computer to complete your application, rather than a mobile device. Also make sure all your attachments are in one of these file formats: JPEG, PDF or PNG.

To apply again, please go to the ‘Start your application’ link on the Private Education provider Students (Stream Two) page and:

1. Sign in with your existing account

2. Check your previous application for mistakes

3. Select ‘Draft Application Form’ to start a new application

We are here to help. Please call us on 1800 056 449 if you need assistance with your application. We can also arrange an interpreter if you would like one.

Can I view or change my application form after it is submitted?

You can view the application form that has been submitted, but you can’t make any changes to it. If your application couldn’t be processed or if your situation has changed, we invite you to apply again.

To see the application form you submitted

  1. Sign in with your ID and password, which is in the email sent to you from Economic Development Enquiries <grantsassistance@ecodev.vic.gov.au>
  2. Click on the ‘completed form’ link within the email and this will take you to your completed application form.

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.

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

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.

I’m having issues with immigration, where can I go 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