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Emergency relief support for people on temporary visas

Financial relief to meet urgent needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are residing in Victoria and want to apply for the Extreme Hardship Support Program (EHSP) please go to Emergency relief support – Victoria.

The COVID-19 Emergency Relief Program is available in all states and territories, please go to Emergency Relief Support.


This page is also available in Arabic | Bengali | Farsi | Hindi | Mandarin | Nepali | Spanish | Tagalog

Downloadable and shareable flyers about COVID-19 Emergency Relief are available in these languages:
Arabic | Bengali | Dari | English | Farsi | Hindi | Mandarin | Mongolian | Nepali | Spanish | Tagalog | Tamil | Thai | Urdu | Vietnamese

If you need support with your application, you can download a step-by-step guide.

Due to lockdowns in Sydney and Victoria, requests for emergency relief have increased significantly. Red Cross will process any applications that have already been received, which could take up to 4 weeks to complete. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

If you have lost work as a result of lockdown (even with temporary visa status), you may be able to access the Pandemic Disaster Payments in Victoria and Sydney, which are available for those who "hold eligible working visas."  More information can be found here, including information in a range of languages.

Here is some important information to read before you contact us.

Please see I need help for other services that may be able to support you.

Emergency relief is to help people meet their basic needs, like accessing food, medicine or shelter.

Australian Red Cross has received Government funding to specifically support people who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents with a small one-off emergency relief payment.

Emergency relief payments are not income support. They are limited and we know may not meet all needs that you have.

For people with significant vulnerabilities, Red Cross may be able to also provide some short term casework support alongside the payment.

The support is available to people in Australia with urgent needs who:

  • are not Australian citizens or permanent residents; and
  • have a need, such as a utility bill or medical expenses, and are unable to meet that need.

Emergency relief support is for people in Australia who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents and who have no income and no other means of support.

The emergency relief payments are to meet your most urgent needs of food, medicine and shelter.

Given the large number of people impacted by COVID-19, the support can only be offered to those who are are unable to meet their basic needs and facing significant vulnerabilities.

At times of high demand, it may take several weeks for your application to be processed. The current processing time is up to 4 weeks.

Before you start your application you will need:

Evidence of your current or most recent visa such as your passport number or immi card number. If you are uncertain or do not have a valid visa right now, you can still apply and we will contact you to discuss your application further.

Evidence of financial hardship:

  • a bank statement that is no more than 2 weeks old that shows transactions for the past month
  • if you have regular transfers to another bank account you will need to provide a bank statement for that account
  • screenshots are acceptable only if they show your name, account number and one month of transactions.

If you do not provide this information your application may be delayed.

You can log into your application after it has been submitted to check its progress. At times of high demand, it may take several weeks for your application to be processed. The current processing time is up to 2 weeks. We will contact you if we require further information.

If you need support to complete your application, you can download a step-by-step guide. To protect everyone's safety during COVID-19, please only come to a Red Cross office if absolutely necessary. Please follow all public health directions at Red Cross offices including the use of hand sanitiser, checking in with QR codes, and wearing a mask if required.

I need help now

If your health or safety is under threat now, please call 000.

If you are an international student, please contact your institution regarding any additional support they may have available.

If you are a tourist, on a working holiday visa or someone wanting to return to your home country, please contact your embassy or consulate to understand the support they can provide in the first instance.

If you can access your savings, or support from home, please do so.

If you need information about your visa, extensions, travel and other matters, the Home Affairs COVID-19 and the Border and Staying in Australia webpages have detailed information for temporary visa holders.

To search for other services, search AskIzzy or the Department of Social Services.

Additional resources that may be helpful

State and territory resources

Department of Social Services emergency relief providers

Family and Domestic Violence Financial Assistance program

Australian Red Cross’ Family and Domestic Violence (FDV) Financial Assistance program is now open for individuals seeking support and service provider referrals.

The program is available to all people on temporary visas, or with uncertain visa status, experiencing family and domestic violence, in need of financial support.

Learn more about the Family and Domestic Violence Financial Assistance program »

Working in Australia

All workers in Australia have the same rights at work, regardless of where you come from or what visa you have.  Your employer must:

  • Pay you correctly for all time worked
  • Provide a safe workplace 
  • Allowing you to join a union

Red Cross provides support for people who have been affected by labour exploitation, domestic servitude, forced labour, and modern slavery through its Support for Trafficked People’s Program.  More information about the program and these issues (in a range of languages) is available here.

Western Australia

Red Cross staff and volunteers are also available to help you. Please visit us at:

  • Asylum-Seeker Hub at Riverview Church (1 Thorogood Street, Burswood) between 2pm and 5pm every Tuesday, or
  • Red Cross office (110 Goderich Street, East Perth) between 9am and 11am every Thursday.