As you will be aware, Australia has introduced health and safety measures and travel restrictions to prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus.
We understand this may be confusing if you’re commencing your studies, so read the below information to find out if you are impacted by the changes, and where you can go for support.
Will I be impacted?
Anyone hoping to travel to and from Australia will be impacted by the recent changes as the Australian Government announced that:
- A travel ban will be placed on all non-residents and non-Australian citizens coming to Australia, effective from 9pm on Friday, 20 March 2020
- all Australian and residents will be able to return and are required to self-isolate for 14 days
- all Australians are advised to not travel overseas at this time. This is the highest advice level (level 4 of 4).
Information about Coronavirus is updated regularly, so it’s important to keep up to date with latest news from Australia.
For the latest information about the Coronavirus in Australia, visit these websites:
- World Health Organization: WHO website for information on protecting yourself from Coronavirus
- Department of Home Affairs website, for the latest news on Australia’s travel restrictions. You can view and download up-to-date information for all types of visa holders in English or Chinese (simplified).
- Study in Australia
International students in Australia
All travellers to Australia from midnight, 15 March 2020 are required to self-isolate for 14 days. Self-isolating means you’re required to stay in your local accommodation.
You’ll need to avoid going out into public spaces such as restaurants, supermarkets, workplaces, universities and any other public places that you will come into contact with people. Additionally, avoid receiving visitors into your home or local accommodation.
If you need more information on self-isolation, get more details by downloading the Isolation Guidance information sheet from the Department of Health website. If you need to use public transport (e.g. taxis, ride-hail services, train, buses and trams.), kindly follow the precautions listed in the public transport guide.
If you’re starting your studies during the time you’re required to self-isolate, contact your school or university to discuss your study options. Many universities have put in place measures to assist students who are required to self-isolate, such as delayed semester starts or online study options.
If you, or any friends and family start showing flu-like symptoms such as a cough, fever, sore throat or shortness of breath, it is important to contact your local doctor. You can also monitor your symptoms using the Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptom checker. Call before you visit and explain your symptoms and travel history to ensure they are prepared to receive you.
If you require immediate and urgent medical attention, you can call 000. Any ambulance and hospital fees will be covered by your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).
These measures are put in place to limit the possibility of spreading the Coronavirus to the general population.
How do I get food and other essentials?
Ask others who are not in isolation to get food and other essentials for you. If you are new to the country and don’t know anyone who can help you, you can order your food and groceries online.
Food delivery and ordering apps
Happy Cow (vegan and vegetarian)
Will this impact my university start date?
If you’re enrolled in Semester 1 2020 and unable to begin classes due to the travel bans or the 14-day self-isolation, you’ll need to get in touch with your university or school as soon as possible to discuss your enrolment.
Many Australian universities have delayed their semester start dates or have put in place changes to assist international students who have been impacted by the recent travel bans.
We recommend you contact your university or school as soon as possible to discuss your possible study options or deferring your studies to start at a later date.
You can also check out the following websites for current advice and information that may assist you:
Queensland University of Technology
The Australian National University
The University of Western Australia
University of Technology Sydney
Changes to student accommodation
If you have arranged for student accomodation and can’t travel into the country, then it’s vital you check in with your student accommodation about your next steps.
Some student accommodation providers may require you to provide additional information or may change or delay your accommodation arrangements.
Where can I go for support?
The outbreak of the novel Coronavirus presents an emotionally challenging situation for many international students. The spread of the virus may be causing you or your friends and family distress or anxiety, especially if you have loved ones in affected areas or have not been able to return home or to Australia because of the recent travel bans.
The Australian Government have created a dedicated and multi-lingual support service for international students. You can contact them via email or phone 1300 981 621 (8:00 am–8:00 pm AEDST Monday to Friday).
You can also visit the Australian Government Department of Education website to download the latest information, guides and FAQs for up-to-date general health and enrolment advice, where to access support services, and news on the latest immigration and border protection measures.
You can also access the links below:
Support for International Students affected by the Novel Coronavirus
Novel Coronavirus FAQ for International Students
Changes in international flight arrangements
If you have flight arrangements in place, your plans may be affected by travel bans or cancelled flights.
Many major airlines and countries are cancelling flights or restricting entry. If you have overseas travel plans, it’s important to regularly check your airline’s website or contact the airline directly for next steps and travel options at a later date.
Changes to IELTS testing
There are currently changes being made to IELTS testing. Visit the IELTS website to find out if the changes will affect you.