Australian Greens Senator for NSW and Education spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi said the Greens would back 565,000 international students by today introducing amendments to make temporary visa holders eligible for the JobKeeper scheme.
Senator Faruqi said:
“Over the last two weeks, I have received hundreds of messages from international students who have lost their jobs and now face an incredibly uncertain future.
“The government has refused to listen to the thousands of international students who have been forced into poverty by this crisis, many of whom are now struggling to pay for food and rent.
“The Greens will move for temporary visa holders including international students to be made eligible for the JobKeeper wage subsidy today. We call on the Opposition and crossbench members to support this effort to ensure international students are not left destitute.
“We also continue to call for international student access to income support, including the Coronavirus Supplement, and Rent Assistance.
“Platitudes by the government are not going to help international students at this time of need. They need concrete help and financial support to get through this crisis.
“Many international students can no longer rely on family support from their home country, as the pandemic has shut down entire economies and ways of earning a living.
“In other countries like New Zealand and Canada, we’ve seen governments step up to support overseas students during the pandemic. There is no reason why Australia cannot do the same.
“For many years, Australia has benefited enormously from our international student population. Now, as they face an increasingly desperate situation, we must ensure they are supported and taken care of,” she said.