The NSW Government has announced a $20 million dollar relief package to support international students in NSW during the coronavirus pandemic.
The package provides access to a temporary accommodation scheme for international students in crisis, and enhanced support through Redfern Legal Centre’s International Student Legal Service NSW, which offers free legal services to international students across the state.
The package also includes the provision of 50,000 free licences of RLC’s multilingual legal advice app for international students, My Legal Mate.
“Redfern Legal Centre welcomes NSW Government’s commitment to increase support for international students affected by the coronavirus crisis,” RLC CEO, Joanna Shulman said.
“We are pleased to be an integral part of the State Government’s COVID-19 response, which will enable international students to access emergency accommodation, essential health and wellbeing information, and multilingual legal information 24 hours a day.”
The measures include a new 24/7 international student support service, through the NSW Government COVID-19 hotline (13 77 88), which will offer free advice and information about other measures, including the moratorium on rental evictions and medical, mental health, legal and emergency support.
“These innovative measures will provide much-needed relief to countless international students experiencing unprecedented levels of hardship,” RLC international student solicitor, Sean Stimson said.
“Because of COVID-19 and current travel restrictions, many of NSW’s 266,000 international students have been left stranded in NSW, unable to find work or accommodation, and without access to welfare payments or COVID-19 stimulus support."
“Redfern Legal Centre’s International Student Legal Service NSW is proud to work alongside our funding partners Study NSW, Fair Work Ombudsman and City of Sydney to provide enhanced supports to international students at this critical time,” Joanna Shulman said.
International students enrolled in NSW (including students who are currently overseas), and services that support international students in NSW, can contact RLC to request a free, confidential legal appointment here.
Free download of My Legal Mate
To ensure international students have access to accurate legal advice during COVID-19, the NSW Government has purchased 50,000 subscriptions of the My Legal Mate app for international students in NSW.
The app addresses four legal areas identified by students and service providers as having the most need – employment, housing, disputes with education providers and sexual assault. The information is provided in multiple languages, delivered in a face-to-face format that is friendly and accessible.