Thousands of international students in Australia have been left without work and government support during the coronavirus crisis. Many will at least be offered a welcoming home thanks to hundreds of generous Australians.
Hundreds of Australian families are signing up to house some of the thousands of international students expected to face financial hardship and homelessness due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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A discounted, short-term homestay accommodation scheme for students has just started in anticipation of tough times ahead, underwritten by crisis funds from governments and educational institutions.
There are hundreds of thousands of international students in Australia, contributing almost $40 billion a year to the economy. But with the economy in hibernation due to the global pandemic, many have lost their jobs.
Despite having paid taxes, they are not eligible for federal government support packages and currently have few ways of getting home.
Former school teacher Rosemaree Gould has opened her door to international homestay students for 30 years and feels it is her duty to help now.
“It feels quite natural to me and we have to, it’s the community spirit to help out,” she said.
She has two spare bedrooms in her house in the Brisbane suburb of Stafford.
“We need to do it, we’d do it for nothing. Even with your whole host money, you don’t actually make money out of it,” she said.
Ms Gould decided to act when Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced COVID-19 JobKeeper and JobSeeker support packages in April that excluded many temporary visa holders.
“In particular international students … if they’re not in a position to support themselves then there is the alternative for them to return to their home countries,” Mr Morrison told a press conference on 3 April.
“At this time, Australia must focus on its citizens and its residents to ensure that we can maximise the economic supports that we have.”
Ms Gould signed on with Australian Homestay Network (AHN), the country’s largest independent provider, to take students in need.
“(Mr Morrison) said something like, ‘they need to go home’,” Ms Gould said.
“I couldn’t understand where that was coming from, because they’re part of, they’re established in our community already and some been here three or four years.”
Source : SBS News