1,000 signatures reached
To: Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Federal Cabinet
Most postgrads are International, Support them as they support Australia!
The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations' list of demands to support international postgraduate students in Australia with the endorsed support by The Australian Council of Graduate Research Inc, The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Postgraduate Association, The Council of International Students Australia, The National Union of Students and The Union of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students includes that:
1) VISA conditions and Condition of Enrolments are to be amended to allow international students, to shift to part-time studies and defer the ongoing semester, without any consequences
2) COVID-19 stimulus package payments or equivalent, must be available to all international postgraduate (research and coursework) students who remain enrolled for the entire duration of the pandemic, including to those who are recipients of the RTP stipend and/or tuition fee offset scholarships
3) Student VISAs (subclass 500) must be extended for 12 months. A further extension on temporary graduate VISAs (subclass 485) must also be provided to the individuals who are on Bridging VISA-A or Bridging VISA B as of 25 March 2020
4) OSHC insurance covers all international postgraduate students admitted with COVID-19
5) Health insurers must commit to cover any COVID-19 related costs under OSHC or OVHC
6) International postgraduate HDR and coursework students who withdraw from their studies as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have secure funding, VISA protection and OSHC permitted
7) International postgraduate HDR and coursework students, can remain enrolled where possible, but allowed to work off-campus and offshore without jeopardizing their ESOS compliance
8) International students (subclass 500) and temporary residents (current/ACTIVE Bridging VISA-A and Bridging VISA-B) are to be provided ongoing relief, until the COVID-19 situation becomes settled, by freezing their rental payments, utility bills and any other costs which can indirectly affect their studies or health
9) Protection is provided to all international postgraduate coursework students, who decide to return home to study online, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and guaranteed compulsory work placements, as a part of their degree upon their return
10) ‘Care Packages’ should be provided to international students who are required to self-isolate. This package would include food and other essentials
11) All international HDR and coursework postgraduate students who are on paid placements through industry partners as a part of their degrees, will be guaranteed
12) RTP stipend scholarship payments must be made available, to all international HDR students, who remain enrolled, for the entire duration of the COVID-19 pandemic
13) International HDR students that have submitted their thesis, must be eligible for VISA extensions for the duration of Australia’s and their home country’s, COVID-19 travel restrictions
Why is this important?
CAPA is disappointed that International Postgraduate students are left out of the COVID-19 Stimulus package. Although, we understand that the financial measures are in place to support Australians. But, the government needs to understand that this is a ONCE IN CENTURY kind of situation and everyone is affected equally. Specifically, the students who are far away from their homelands, trusting the universities and the government here amid this crisis.
We're not sure about what the future holds for us. But, helping us out in this crisis will not just be ethically good but will be also putting Australia first strategically. It's not the time to decide whether or not any support should be extended but it's the time to take immediate action to bring us out from this situation. Because we are all in this TOGETHER.