Following the closure of the International Student Emergency Relief Fund (ISERF) of 31 December 2020, International Students who are experiencing financial hardship and who meet all other eligibility criteria are welcome to apply for the Extreme Hardship Support Program. If you are an International Student and continue to experience financial hardship and your application to the Extreme Hardship Support Program was previously declined due to receiving ISERF, you are welcome to apply again.
We have recently received a large volume of applications and processing is taking longer than normal. If your application is complete; including all required information and supporting documentation, we will provide you an outcome as soon as possible.
Please note that there is no need to contact Red Cross to check on the status of your application, if we require anything further to assess your eligibility, we will contact you to request this.
In October 2020, the Victorian Government doubled the payment from $400 to $800 for a single person. Families may receive more. This depends on the number of people in the family or your personal circumstances.
If you received a $400 payment before 1 October 2020 and are still experiencing financial hardship, you can apply for a top up payment of $400. To apply for the top up, please submit a new online application and we will assess your application for the top up.
If you apply for support after 1 October 2020 you will receive a payment of $800. If you are still experiencing financial hardship after two months, you may be eligible for an additional payment of $800.
I need help now
If your health or safety is under threat now, please call 000.
If you can access your savings, or support from home, please do so.
If you are an international student, please contact your institution or Study Melbourne to see what support they can provide.
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 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.
Additional resources that may be helpful:
Extra support for people in Victoria
COVID-19 health information
- Practise good hygiene and regularly and thoroughly wash your hands.
- Maintain physical distancing, keep at least 1.5 metres away from others.
If you need COVID-19 health information in your language, see DHHS COVID-19 translated resources.
If you would like information on about looking after the wellbeing of yourself and others during COVID-19, see information from Red Cross.
COVID-19 hotline and free testing
If you suspect you may have COVID-19, call the DHHS hotline on 1800 675 398. The hotline is open 24 hours, 7 days. If you need an interpreter, call 131 450 first.
If you have any of the symptoms of COVID-19, however mild, you should seek advice and get tested. You can get a free test for COVID-19 (coronavirus) regardless of your Medicare or visa status. Find a testing location in your area.
The Victorian Government has expanded the 1800 COVID-19 hotline to help isolated Victorians stay connected. If you’re feeling lonely, give the COVID-19 hotline a call on 1800 675 398 and press ‘3’ to speak to an Australian Red Cross volunteer who can connect you to people in your local community. An interpreting service is available in 160 different languages.
COVID-19 test isolation payment
If you have to miss work while you self-isolate and wait for COVID-19 test results, or are caring for someone who must self-isolate, you can apply for a $450 COVID-19 Test Isolation Payment. This Victorian Government payment will help to ensure that workers are able to isolate immediately and avoid potential transmission of the virus through workplaces. Find out more about eligibility requirements and apply.
COVID-19 pandemic leave payment
If you can't earn an income because you must self-isolate at home or are caring for someone with coronavirus (COVID-19), there is support for Victorians available. Find out more about eligibility requirements and apply.
COVID-19 rent relief
If you are a Victorian experiencing rental hardship due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for a once off rent relief payment of up to $3000 to maintain safe, secure and stable accommodation. Find out more about eligibility requirements and apply.
Family violence support
If you do not feel safe at home, seek support now from: In Touch - Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence, Safe Steps or Orange Door.
Mental health support
If you are facing mental health concerns or have concerns for someone you care for, Lifeline provides 24/7 confidential crisis support and suicide prevention services on 13 11 14. A free interpreting service for people who do not speak English is available. To access this service please call 13 14 50 and ask to talk to Lifeline on 13 11 14 in the language required.
Refugees and people seeking asylum can also access specialist medical and mental health support.
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, including COVID safe
- 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.