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COVID-19: Important updates for IDP students

As you will be aware, Australia is constantly updating its health and safety measures and travel restrictions to prevent the spread of the Covid-19.

We understand this may be confusing if you're commencing your studies, so read the below information to find out if you are impacted by the changes, and where you can go for support.

Please note, in light of recent disorderly conduct by visa holders, the government of Australia has issued several warning letters. As a visa holder, students are expected to behave in accordance with Australian laws and values. Please do not engage in any conduct that conflicts with the law as this may result in visa cancellation.

Why might I need support?

The outbreak of the Covid-19 presents an emotionally challenging situation for many international students. The spread of the virus may be causing you or your friends and family distress or anxiety, especially if you have loved ones in affected areas or have not been able to return home or to Australia because of the recent travel bans. We understand, and we are here to help support you. 

You may be feeling down, lost, or lonely due to Covid-19 situation. Combined with changes to employment, learning, and social structures, this can be a challenging time. There are many counselling services you can access to get help about how you’re feeling.

As well as this, you may need more tangible support in terms of food, finances, or accommodation.  

Where can I go for support?

There are a range of support options for you, from your university, from the Australian government, from non-profit organisations, and from us here at IDP.

Support and wellbeing for international students from local agencies

There are non-profit organisations you can reach out to:

The Salvation Army or Red Cross is offering emergency financial assistance or budgeting counselling.

The Australian Psychological Society - get advice about maintaining positive mental health during the outbreak

Australian Government: AIHW MHSA -  they provide information on mental health services in Australia

Beyond Blue has fact sheets about anxiety and offers other practical advice and resources. They also offer short term counselling and referrals by phone and webchat on 13 00 22. You can connect with others via the Beyond Blue forums thread - Coping during the coronavirus outbreak

Head to Health can help international students access digital mental health services in their language/ in a culturally appropriate way

Lifeline Australia – you can reach them at 13 11 14 and get access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services

Kids Help Line – they offer confidential and anonymous, telephone and online counselling service specifically for young people aged between 5 and 25. Phone: 1800 55 18 00

Headspace  - Australia’s National Youth Mental Health Foundation. They help young people who are going through a tough time

Embrace gives a range of mental health information in different languages

The ASKPEACE Project provides counselling and support for people from non-English speaking backgrounds. Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, 08 8245 8110

Transcultural Mental Health Centre supports positive mental health across different cultures and languages

Mental Health Australia has launched a campaign designed to promote positive mental health. Check out the hashtag #LookAfterYourMentalHealthAustralia

Time 2 Talk is a free telephone counselling service. Call them on 1300 022 966

Support from your university or learning institution

There is free counselling and emotional support services available through your university, check your institution’s website for details. The uncertainty the current situation brings can be challenging to manage, and if you are suffering from personal, study, or mental health issues, your university have support for you. They want you to succeed, and part of this is counselling and other support measures. 

If you have any wellbeing concerns, don’t be afraid to ask for help. One on one counselling can be in person or over Zoom, and is totally confidential. It helps by:

Making you feel better about the situation

Giving you a different perspective

Finding solutions to problems

Teaching you new skills to manage issues

Providing strategies to deal with stress

Identifying problematic thinking or patterns

No referrals are required; simply contact the service directly. This time in your life is stressful already, juggling study, work and your personal life. COVID-19 has added an extra layer of stress and complexity on top of that and it’s normal to feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and down. If you do feel like this, you will benefit from counselling to help you feel like ‘you’ again. 

From the links below, you can access information about your university’s counselling services.

o Curtin University

o Federation University

o Flinders University

o Go8 Universities

o Griffith University

o La Trobe University

o Macquarie University

o Monash University

o Queensland University of Technology

o RMIT

o Swinburne University

o The Australian National University

o The University of Adelaide

o The University of Queensland

o The University of Western Australia

o University of Melbourne 

o University of South Australia

o University of Sydney

o University of Technology Sydney

o University of Wollongong

o UNSW

o Victoria University

o Western Sydney University

There is state-specific information for students on the following sites:

o Study Adelaide

o Study Victoria

o Study Queensland

o Study NSW

o Study Perth

Meeting IDP counsellors

Our full suite of student placement services and support is available to you - if you have questions about how to navigate through all that's happening in Australia, course opportunities or visas, speak to us.

Call, email us or book a counselling appointment online. For your convenience, virtual appointments are also available via Zoom.

Office

Contact

Appointment

Virtual Counselling

IDP Adelaide

08 8205 1100

Book online

Zoom

IDP Brisbane

07 3020 6101

Book online

Zoom

IDP Cairns

07 3020 6101

Book online

Zoom

IDP Canberra (Virtual office)

02 8260 3300

Book online

Zoom

IDP Darwin (Virtual office)

07 3020 6101

Book online

Zoom

IDP Hobart (Virtual office)

03 9606 1800

Book online

Zoom

IDP Melbourne

03 9606 1800

Book online

Zoom

IDP Parramatta

02 8260 3326

Book online

Zoom

IDP Perth

08 9227 0102

Book online

Zoom

IDP Sydney

02 8260 3300

Book online

Zoom

Government COVID assistance for international students

The Australian Government have created a dedicated and multi-lingual support service for international students. You can contact them via email or phone 1300 981 621 (9:00 am–5:00 pm AEDST Monday to Friday, except public holidays). 

You can also visit the Australian Government Department of Education website to download the latest information, guides and FAQs for up-to-date general health and enrolment advice, where to access support services, and news on the latest immigration and border protection measures.

National Coronavirus Helpline

Call this 1800 020 080 if you are seeking information and advice on COVID-19. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.

The uncertainties surrounding Covid-19 could potentially affect your well-being. Feeling overwhelmed or stressed is all very natural and normal reactions to the changing situation that we all find ourselves in. The experts however, believe that resilience, community spirit and positivity can go a long way in easing the difficulties.  

As well as speaking to professional counsellors and support staff, reach out digitally to your family and friends. Staying connected with those you love can also go a long way to alleviate stress.

You can visit these websites for the latest information about the Coronavirus in Australia:

World Health Organization: WHO website for information on protecting yourself from Coronavirus

Department of Home Affairs website, for the latest news on Australia’s travel restrictions. You can view and download up-to-date information for all types of visa holders in English or Chinese (simplified).

Study in Australia

Australian Government Department of Health

Coronavirus Australia app and WhatsApp Feature

The Australian Government has launched an official app with the information you need to know about Coronavirus. It will assist you to get accurate and timely information about what is being done by governments around the country to support you through the difficult months ahead.

Search "Coronavirus Australia" in the Apple App Store and on Google Play to download or access the Government's WhatsApp channel.

International students in Australia

If you, or any friends and family start showing flu-like symptoms such as a cough, fever, sore throat or shortness of breath, it is important to contact your local doctor. You can also monitor your symptoms using the Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptom checker. Call before you visit and explain your symptoms and travel history to ensure they are prepared to receive you.

If you require immediate and urgent medical attention, you can call 000. Any ambulance and hospital fees will be covered by your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).

IDP Australia has collected important resources available to support our international students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How do I get food and other essentials?

Ask others who are not in isolation to get food and other essentials for you. If you are new to the country and don’t know anyone who can help you, you can order your food and groceries online.

Food delivery and ordering apps

Menulog

Deliveroo

Uber Eats

Happy Cow (vegan and vegetarian)

Open table

Groceries

Coles

Woolworths

Will this impact my university start date?

We recommend you contact your university or school as soon as possible to discuss your possible study options or deferring your studies to start at a later date. 

If you would like more information or support, contact your IDP Counsellor at 1800 681 776 or via Zoom, Skype or WhatsApp.

Changes to student accommodation

If you have arranged for student accommodation and can't travel into the country, then it's vital you check in with your provider about your next steps.

Some student accommodation providers may require you to provide additional information or may change or delay your accommodation arrangements.

International students working in Australia

In November 2021, the Government has announced measures to support the return of international students and graduates, bolstering the international education industry by: 

  • Allowing Temporary Graduate visa holders, who have been unable to travel to Australia as a result of COVID-19 international border restrictions, to apply for a replacement visa; 
  • Increasing the length of stay on Temporary Graduate visas in the Masters by Coursework and Vocation Education and Training (VET) streams; 
  • Simplifying the requirements for Temporary Graduate visa applicants for VET sector graduates; and 
  • Extending the existing measure for student and temporary graduates to recognise time spent offshore studying online to count towards qualifying for a Temporary Graduate visa application. (source: The Department of Home Affairs)

Changes to student visa arrangements

To assist new and returning students, the Australian Government is offering a number of visa support initiatives, including a temporary student visa application fee rebate and COVID-19 visa application fee waiver. Find out more on the Study Australia website.

Changes in international flight arrangements

If you have overseas travel plans, it's important to regularly check your airline's website or contact the airline directly for next steps and travel options at a later date.

International students in other countries

For the latest information about how other countries are responding to the Coronavirus, visit the country’s government websites.

United Kingdom: National Health Service

New Zealand: Safetravel New Zealand

Canada: Government of Canada

United States: Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

Ireland: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Changes to IELTS testing

There are currently changes being made to IELTS testing. Visit the IELTS website to find out if the changes will affect you.

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