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International students need more support in Australia

Border closures to Victoria won't prevent the return of international students in other states. Source: Fliker

A peak lobby group for international students in Australia is calling for more support to help both existing and future students. The Council of International Students Australia says the support that is on offer now has persuaded some students to stay in Australia but it warns more help is required.

A peak lobby group for international students in Australia says the federal government's response to COVID-19 had many foreign students considering abandoning Australia. 

The Federal Government announced a support package for higher education in April and stressed that it was unashamedly focused on domestic students. 

It seemed all international students could expect from the federal government was early access to any superannuation they might have accrued and an ability to work up to 40 hours per fortnight. 

The President of the National Union of Students, Molly Willmott, says the federal government's treatment of international students after COVID struck was reprehensible.

"The Australian government and the Australian community have used international students as cash cows for far too long and as soon as the  going gets tough, and these international students are really struggling, that's when we've turned our back on them and we're like 'no, you don't get the support that your domestic colleagues do' so it's a huge issue, like we're happy to take their money but we're not happy to help them out when they need it.'"

With jobs being shed around the country and no access to JobKeeper, international students faced the prospect of being left without enough income for necessities like food and accommodation.

To hear the full report, click on the audio player above. 

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People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits. 

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. 

News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus 

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