WORKING FOR VICTORIA: A HOPE FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
Australia is one of the most popular destinations for international students who want to continue their study. It is not surprising that there are a lot of international students who reside in Australia. Currently, there are more than 600,000 international students in Australia. Unfortunately, many of them are facing unemployment and barriers to returning home amid the global health COVID 19 crisis and the corresponding border restrictions.
So far, the federal government has only extended limited help to international students. It has allowed international students in the nursing and aged care sectors and those working in supermarkets to work for more than 40 hours per fortnight to support the country’s essential services and supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic. The government has also allowed international students who have been in the country for longer than 12 months to access their superannuation funds if they are facing financial hardships.
To the rest who can no longer support themselves in Australia, the government has told them: “it’s time to go home”, which has greatly upset international students in Australia.
International students contributed $37.6 billion to Australia’s economy in the last financial year. They also support thousands of businesses, pay more taxes than domestic students, and provide frontline help, as well as carrying out voluntary work. However, they are not being protected and are feeling left out in this current situation.
This situation has led some international students to run an online campaign to persuade the government to protect the interests of international students in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
As a response to the growing call for providing support for international students, the Government of Victoria has stepped up to create job opportunities for international students through its ‘Working for Victoria’ program.
Through a $500 million ‘Working for Victoria’ program, the Government of Victoria is trying to help people who have lost work due to the COVID-19 outbreak to get back into the workforce. It is open to workers who have recently lost their job, or casual staff, including those in the Early Childhood Education and Care sector, who no longer have shifts – including international students and temporary migrants. Relocation, accommodation and transport subsidies are available to eligible participants.
All other temporary visa holders who are eligible to work in Australia will also be able to find work through this program. In addition to receiving help finding a job, people who have registered with Working for Victoria can access free online courses in cleaning, food hygiene, first aid, among other skills.
What is Working for Victoria program?
The Working for Victoria initiative is part of the Victorian Government’s $1.7 billion Economic Survival Package that is providing a range of support to businesses in the state. It is designed to connect workers with new opportunities that will help Victoria’s community and contribute to Victoria’s ability to respond to the pandemic.
Under this initiative, the state government is inviting job seekers to register their details on the vic.gov.au/workingforvictoria to access opportunities.
While workers can apply their skills to specific roles, the program also allows employers and organisations who have vacancies to register their details, which then enables them to screen workers who fit into the available roles.
The program is placing job seekers in roles like food preparation and delivery for the vulnerable, and also in jobs related to the quarantine program for returning international arrivals such as transport operations, security and cleaning. Many have also found work at call centres, minor maintaining, landscaping, and upgrading public space. Free online courses in sanitation, food hygiene, first aid and other essential skills are also available to people who have lost their jobs and are registered with the program.
As noted by the Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney, giving Victorians new skills will be vital in getting through this crisis. That’s why they’re offering these free online courses through Working for Victoria.
Am I Eligible as International Student ?
If you have Australian working rights, you are eligible to participate. International students that are legally allowed to work in Australia are also eligible to register for the Working for Victoria program.
How do I Apply?
The Victorian Government has partnered with Sidekicker to match potential applicants with work aligned to their skills and experience. You can register here.
A Great Move
The program is warmly welcomed by many communities, including international students. Many are glad that Victoria acknowledges the contribution of international students to the Australian economy and its culture.
Many are hoping that this step would encourage other states and territories also to step up and provide some form of support to international students as they are currently the most vulnerable temporary visa holders in the country.
Almost 1,300 people who were looking for a job due to the coronavirus crisis are now working for Victoria. And as noted by Premier Daniel Andrews, this is just the beginning. Over the coming weeks, the government expects that thousands of Victorians will be matched with employers that need staff, and given the support they need to skill up and start work. The government also expects the fund will secure employment for another 2500 people by the end of the week.
We hope this information can help you during this hard time. If you have any questions regarding your Australian visa, feel free to contact us thru 08 6102 1118, 02 8005 4777 or 03 9010 6100. Together with our inhouse migration agent, we would happily assist you to discuss any matter related to your visa.
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