“It’s time to go home,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently advised visitors and international students in Australia.
“If they cannot support themselves then there is the alternative for them to return to their home countries,” announced the PM as the Coronavirus pandemic continues. He was reiterating that safety and well-being of Australians is his first priority, and fair enough.
That controversial statement from the Prime Minister, however, resulted in further anxiety for students already bogged down by COVID concerns. With university fees paid in advance, flights to other countries disrupted, parents/supporters also in lockdowns in their home countries and job losses all around, the situation is already grim for many.
The Indian communities in Melbourne and Sydney have rallied round to support the affected students in various capacities from offering free Education and Visa consultations to cooking fresh meals for those in need or isolation.
Indian Link spoke to some community representatives on their efforts to assist international students and others caught up in this turbulence.
Everyone agreed that we all have a duty of care for these students who are away from their homes and insecure about their future due to circumstances beyond their control. We as a community need to help them financially as much as we can as that is the need of the hour.
Monica Raizada: Women of Wyndham (WOW) and Wyndham Interfaith Network (WIN)
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Girish Patel: Migration Agent, Aussizz Group
Special consultation and booklet for international students
Mihir Shah: Echoes Global Education
Free consultation to COVID-19 affected international students
Sunny Duggal: Sant Nirankari Mission
“ We are asking people to register themselves ASAP so we can assist them.”
AP Singh: Gurudwara Sahib Blackburn
“When religious places were shut down temporarily, we continued to cook for regular students.”
Vasan Srinivasan: Mental Health Foundation Australia
“The Government will consider the unprecedented circumstances and offer alternatives like bridging/temporary visas for those affected until the pandemic settles down.”