Find out how Coronavirus affects your student visa:
How is my visa affected if I need to take program leave?
Student visas have conditions including condition 8202. This says that while you hold a student visa you must be enrolled in a full time registered course, maintain satisfactory course progress and course attendance and stay enrolled in a course at the same level as the course which your visa was granted for (for example, bachelors or masters degree).
In most cases when an international student applies for program leave, their enrolment is cancelled and they need to return to their home country. If you are granted program leave because of ‘compassionate and compelling circumstances’, your visa will not be cancelled and you can generally remain in Australia, or be overseas during your period of leave and maintain your visa. This means you should not need to apply for a new student visa when you go to enrol in your next term.
UNSW’s FAQ section says that if you need to take program leave because you are impacted by the coronavirus, that will be considered ‘compassionate and compelling’, meaning your CoE will remain active and therefore this won’t impact your visa.
If you need to take program leave for term 1, you must apply before Sunday 15th March. As well as the UNSW FAQs section, you should also read this fact sheet from the Department of Home Affairs about how your visa status.
If I contract the coronavirus will my health insurance cover treatment?
NSW health will cover treatment costs for international students in NSW who need treatment, so you should not need to lodge any claim with your insurer. However you must still maintain your OSHC insurance while you hold a student visa.
I can’t travel to UNSW to commence my degree in Term 1
Apply to start your degree later:
- Students who cannot start their degree in Week 1 can apply to defer their studies until Term 2 or 3. There is no financial penalty for deferring your studies.
- Apply to defer here.
- UNSW may also approve late enrolment until the end of Week 2 (28 February).
- Contact the Nucleus or for more information. Students can also access support via International Student advisors.
Apply if you can't travel to UNSW to continue your degree in Term 1
- Late arriving students can enrol in Term 1 courses up to the end of Week 2, but enrolment will be limited to two courses.
- Students can apply for program leave in
Term 1 (and recommence studies in either Term 2 or Term 3). You must apply for leave by Sunday 15 March.
- UNSW has confirmed affected students will also have access to specific special consideration due to commencement delays.
- Students should contact the Nucleus for more information, or speak to an International Student advisor.
Need to change courses in T2 or T3?
Apply for special consideration if you can't sit an exam, or submit an assignment
UNSW has advised if classes are already full in Term 2 and Term 3, affected students (those impacted by the travel ban) can contact The Nucleus and be given priority for the next available space in the course.
Coronavirus and renting
How Coronavirus can affect your living situation
If you are stuck overseas due to the travel ban, or need to isolate yourself due to recent travel, this may impact your renting situation.
Can't travel back to Australia?
If you are unable to return to Australia due to the travel ban, please keep paying rent. If you are more than 14 days late, your landlord may start action to evict you. If necessary, contact your landlord and let them know so you won’t be deemed to have abandoned the property.
Having trouble paying your rent due to COVID-19 restrictions?
At the moment, there is no obligation for landlords to reduce rent, and the NSW government has not yet made an announcement about a rent freeze or eviction ban.
If you're struggling to pay rent, talk to your landlord about a temporary rent reduction. It might be beneficial to them to agree to have less guaranteed rental income, than none at all. This is especially the case if you are approaching the end of your lease - it's going to be hard to find a replacement tenant.
But if that doesn't work, landlords cannot do anything to evict you (or change the locks, throw out your belongings or cut off the water/power to force you to move out) without going through a formal process - a process which involves making an application to NCAT (NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal) for an order to terminate your agreement - and only after you are more than 14 days late with the rent.
If you receive any correspondence from NCAT (email/letter) don't ignore it! It is your opportunity to ask NCAT not to terminate the agreement, and/or enter into a payment plan.
If you receive a letter or email from NCAT, or a notice of termination directly from your landlord for non-payment of rent, get advice. The Government is constantly updating laws to give relief to those in financial hardship, which could extend to renters in the near future.
What if you need to self-isolate?
Your landlord cannot evict you from your home because you need to self-isolate or have recently travelled to China.
If you are a UNSW student and Arc member we can give you free legal advice. Send us an email or contact Arc reception on 9385 7700.
Living in a share house?
If you live in a share house, and need to self-isolate due to possible exposure, please take precautions and follow the latest health advice.
- Limit contact with your housemates/visitors as much as possible.
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing
- Wash your hands regularly Wash dishes, glasses, cups, utensils, towels and bedding with hot soapy water.
Looking for somewhere to rent?
There has been a lot of news about people of Asian descent facing discrimination due to the Coronavirus outbreak. It is illegal for a landlord or agent to discriminate against a tenant (or prospective tenant) on the basis of race/ethnicity/nationality:
- when rental accommodation is advertised (e.g. an ad that says that people of a particular nationality cannot apply)
- when you apply for rental accommodation (e.g. by refusing to take your application, or rent the property to you)
- by ending the tenancy.
You live on campus
Current advice from UNSW is that there is no increased risk of exposure to Coronavirus by being on campus.
If you're concerned, you should talk to the head of your College. But please get legal advice before terminating your licence agreement (as it could end up costing you money).
UNSW has informed students who hold a license agreement with most UNSW-owned, operated or affiliated accommodation providers (except New College and New College Village) they will receive credit for accommodation fees already paid. In most cases, there will be no charge for accommodation not used prior to arrival.
There are no penalties for transferring accommodation to Term 2.