Indian students stuck in countries like the USA, Canada, UK, and Australia – some facing mounting debt and fees – will soon get some financial relief.
Universities in the USA, the most popular destination for Indian students studying abroad, are introducing their own measures to help students. More than 200,000 Indians studied in the USA in the academic year 2018-19.
New York University on Friday announced an emergency relief fund. All students, including international students, can tap the fund if they need money to travel home, for housing, food or if they have lost their jobs.
On Sunday, Canada began accepting applications for its newly introduced Canadian Emergency Response Benefit, a scheme under which unemployed workers can get $500 a week for up to 16 weeks. This is also applicable to international students who pass the eligibility criteria.
The United Kingdom has extended free testing for everyone living in the country. The National Health Service will also provide free treatment to students with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 virus infections. In the UK, some students have lost their jobs and are now struggling with rent and fee payments.
The Melbourne city council in Australia will support foreign students through a variety of measures, including a proposal to set up a “hardship fund”, according to a posting on Wednesday on the City of Melbourne’s official website.
In Melbourne, more than 200,000 international students from 170 countries are living, an official quoted on the website said.
The Australian govt on Sunday also introduced a measure to let those international students who work part-time on a contract access their superannuation funds in advance.
These funds, which are meant as retirement savings, are deducted from the earner’s salary and can be accessed when they leave the country. The new measure is applicable to those who have been in the country for longer than 12 months.
Foreign students in Australia, who were earlier allowed to work only 20 hours a week, will now have no such limits, provided they work for essential services such as supermarkets, nursing homes, hospitals or old-age homes. The extension for those working in supermarkets will end on May 1.
Some Indian students currently in Melbourne told that it was unfair to not support those who do not work in critical services, as many non-critical services have shut shop leading to job losses.
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