International Student Welfare Services Hub

24 April 2020

This is a challenging time for everyone. We know that some international students are struggling to meet their living expenses. Given the global impact of COVID-19 many families and funding sources from students' home countries have also been impacted.

We also know that some students may wish to return home but at the moment this may not be possible due to restricted flight access or borders closing in other countries.

Study NSW and the Australian international education sector are working hard to support the health, wellbeing, and academic success of international students. A key priority is to ensure that international students have information about the support services that are available to them in Australia – locally and nationally.

Students’ first point of call should be their institution, but there are other service providers that can help as well. These include local and national non-government organisations and community services. Students should also contact their Embassy or local Consular Office to see if help is available there.

Australia’s international education study destination agencies are serving a vital role in supporting international students who are facing hardship at this time. Study destination agencies across Australia are mobilising support, in partnership with Australia’s education provided and other key stakeholders. Immediate support responses have included referring international students to appropriate agencies including welfare, mental health, and emergency relief.

In these past few weeks we have also heard many inspiring stories about international students and their contribution to the communities in which they live, study, and work. During these unprecedented times, we must always remember that we are #InThisTogether.

Our message to students is that they are not alone and the Australian community is here to support them. The safety of all students and the public is the Government’s number one priority.

Education providers, agents and community groups can promote the International Student Welfare Service Hub using our Promotional Toolkit.

Key contacts

For all official Government information about Coronavirus (COVID-19) 

Stay connected and up to date 

  • Australian Government Coronavirus App by searching “Coronavirus Australia” in the Apple App Store and on Google Play
  • Australian Government Whatsapp

Study Australia Partners

Study in Australia and our partners are here to support the international student community. Visit the Study in Australia website for more information and assistance.

The National Coronavirus Information Helpline

The National Coronavirus Information Helpline, 1800 020 080 is available 24/7 for information and advice on COVID-19.

Translating and Interpreting Service

Translating assistance when seeking medical advice is available by calling the Translating and Interpreting Service on 13 14 50.

Global Service Centre

Home Affairs also have a Global Service Centre available on 131 881 available between 9am and 5pm AEDT Monday to Friday.

Study NSW

Frequently asked questions

Can I access COVID-19 advice in another language?

If English is not your first language, translated factsheets, information, videos and posters are available on the NSW Health website.

Information is available in a variety of community languages, including Arabic, Bahasa/Indonesian, Chinese – Simplified, Chinese – Traditional, Farsi, Italian, Khmer, Korean, Mongolian, Thai, Vietnamese and more

What should I do if I have COVID-19 symptoms?

Please seek medical help if you are concerned about your health. People sick from COVID-19 may have the following symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath.

To speak to a registered nurse for health advice, call Healthdirect on 1800 022 222. You can call this number at any time.

You can call a doctor or visit the emergency department in a NSW hospital.

If you are in an emergency situation, call 000

Do I have access to health cover?

As an international student you don’t have access to Medicare. However, your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) should cover things like trips to the doctor, some hospital treatment, some medicines and ambulance cover.

There are bulk-billing OSHC doctors (with no gap payment) available in major cities like Sydney.

What if I don't have Medicare?

NSW Health provides advice for people that are not eligible for Medicare

Where can I get mental and emotional support? 

If you need emotional or mental support, you can contact the NSW Health Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 for free counselling at any time.

As an international student, you can also access university and education provider support services.

For more services and resources, visit

Where can I get access to legal support?

If you are unsure about your rights in this area, Redfern Legal Centre offers a free, state-wide legal service for international students in NSW. This is funded by Study NSW.

For more information, visit

Can I be evicted for not paying rent during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Australian states and territories will put a six-month moratorium on evictions for both residential and commercial tenants during the coronavirus pandemic.

Tenants and landlords are encouraged to agree on rent relief or temporary amendments to the lease.

If you need help to understand your legal situation, contact International Student Legal Service NSW, NSW Fair Trading or the Tenants’ Union of New South Wales for free advice.

Support services available for international students


Gov support

Food 2


mental health 2