Australian Red Cross has partnered with several community organisations to provide a one-off payment to international students and temporary visa holders through their ‘Coronavirus (COVID -19) extreme hardship support program.’ Applicants from Victoria can receive a few hundred dollars as part of this emergency financial assistance, and people on visitor visas are also eligible to apply.
Australian Red Cross has announced cash payments for eligible temporary visa holders, refugees, international students and people on visitor visas currently in Victoria, who are facing financial hardship during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Temporary visa holders, international students, refugees, and visitors in financial hardship are eligible
- Singles can receive up to $400 and families can receive more money as a one-off payment
- This is only open to applicants in Victoria who are not eligible for other welfare benefits
Gurinder Kaur is the President of Sikh Community Connections Inc, which is one of the organisations that the Red Cross has partnered with, in order to provide this payment to those who most need it.
Speaking to SBS Punjabi she said, “We are helping people from the Punjabi community, Indian community and Sikh community to apply for these payments. There are several criteria that people need to meet, to be eligible.”
“They must reside in Victoria, should not be receiving any other financial assistance, and if their bank balance is below $1,000 they could be eligible for this one-off hardship payment.”
A single person may receive up to $400 and families could receive more.
Ms Kaur says Sikh Community Connections has vetted and submitted several applications, and many of the applicants have already received hundreds of dollars in assistance.
“We are screening applications for Red Cross and fast-tracking them. In fact, we end up rejecting many applications when they come to us if they don’t meet the criteria.”
As an example, she said the family's joint income is taken into account in case of couples or families.
“We had an instance where one woman had lost their job and was not receiving JobKeeper of JobSeeker payments because of their visa status. But because her husband was earning almost $4,000 per month, her application was rejected.”
“As the name indicates, this assistance is only provided in case of extreme hardship and when there is no other source of income or benefit.”
Ms Kaur says there is “no set limit” for the number of applications that will be approved, as long as the application meets the selection criteria.
She also gave the example of a case where someone who had come to Victoria on a visitor visa earlier this year, received this payment.
“They had come for a visit in March this year, but since the borders were shut down soon after, they weren’t able to return to India. They have had to live in a hotel in Melbourne and have had no financial assistance.”
“So their application was approved and the payment has already been sent to them.”
Ms Kaur says as a partner organisation, Sikh Community Connection's role is to make this information widely available to those who need it most.
“We held a meeting last weekend to let several people know about this payment, so that more and more eligible temporary visa holders can apply."
Explaining her role further, she said, “Basically we screen the application for Red Cross and once we send it through, it only takes a few days to be processed.”
“There is no financial gain for Sikh Community Connections in this – we are merely the conduit to provide this support, and we feel its really worth it when we see the happiness on the face of the applicants when they receive the payment.”
For more information on this, click on the link here.
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The full list of restrictions can be found here.
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