Information for international students

Living away from home can be especially hard for international students who may not have social and family networks here. They also often cannot access state and federal government financial support programs.

Below is a list of national, local and state-based support programs available to international students who live in Stonnington. Your education institution may also have details of support available.

Australian Government support

The Study in Australia website outlines support and information available from the Australian Government for international students during COVID-19.

Victorian Government support

The Victorian Government’s Extreme Hardship Support Program can provide financial assistance, information and referrals to people living in Victoria who are experiencing significant hardship due to COVID-19 and are unable to access other forms of Victorian and Australian government financial support.

The Study Melbourne website also has information and resources outlining the support available for international students.

Community information and support

Community information and support Victoria

Local services assist people experiencing personal and financial difficulties by providing information, referral, and support services including emergency relief.

Uniting Prahran is a trusted local organisation with support for international students facing hardship due to the impacts of COVID-19.

Support available includes:

  • food relief and personal care items
  • material aid
  • a lunch programme
  • referral to other support available.

Call our COVID-19 customer service centre at 03 8290 1333 to be connected with Uniting Prahran. There are also a number of local Stonnington community organisations offering support during COVID-19.


International students are welcome to choose from a diverse range of fresh products, pantry and staple items via Foodbank's new International Student Pop-Up Store. Students simply need to bring along a shopping bag along with a Student ID.


Links to universities offering meals and food. Since the start of COVID, SecondBite has worked with other organisations to supply students with free, nutritious, and culturally-appropriate pre-prepared meals.

International students of Melbourne and Victoria Facebook group

This is the official group for international students studying in Victoria, Australia, run by Study Melbourne, a Victorian Government initiative. The primary purpose of this group is to provide a safe space for our international student community to participate in beneficial and productive discussions, network with one another and grow a supportive online community for international students in Victoria.

Meetup Melbourne

Join different social and interest groups for hobbies, sports, and discussion topics. Visit the website to learn more.

Places of Worship

All places of religion and worship of all denominations are open for activities including religious gatherings, private worship, prayer groups, ceremonies, or to provide essential services. There are no vaccination requirements or capacity limits in place for weddings, funerals and religious ceremonies. Check the Victorian Government Coronavirus website for any updates on this topic.

COVID-19 vaccination and testing

Visit the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for the latest information on:

Or call the COVID-19 hotline1800 675 398.

Book your vaccine appointment

If you do not have a Medicare card, you can still get your COVID-19 vaccination at all state-run vaccination hubs. You will be required to get an Individual Healthcare Identifier number for the purposes of being issued a Vaccination Certificate. For more information, Free call 1800 675 398.

Star Health COVID-19 vaccinations

Star Health is delivering two COVID-19 vaccines:

  • AstraZeneca
  • Pfizer Vaccine (eligibility now includes everyone over the age of 5).

For more information, call 03 9525 1300.

Approved COVID-19 vaccines

Australia is using 3 different COVID-19 vaccines:

  • Vaxzevria by AstraZeneca
  • Comirnaty by Pfizer
  • Spikevax by Moderna

However, while they are unavailable in Australia, Sinovac's Coronavac and the Covishield vaccines are recognised by the Australian government.

Cultural Hubs


A free service that connects people in need with housing, a meal, money help, family violence support, counselling and much more. It is free and anonymous, with over 370,000 services listed across Australia.


A not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting the Indian community in Victoria.

Study Melbourne

The Study Melbourne Student Centre can provide free and confidential information, access to services, support and practical help. Shares current and accurate information and connects international students to resources that can help through COVID-19. 

The Couch International Student Centre

The Couch is a safe and free lounge space in Melbourne for international students to socialise, relax, study, and seek assistance. Be sure to check the link below for the latest updates on events at The Couch.

Translating and Interpreting Service

An interpreting service provided by the Department of Home Affairs for people who do not speak English and for agencies and businesses that need to communicate with their non-English speaking clients. Provides access to interpreters speaking more than 160 languages.


Keep up-to-date with visa information by visiting the Home Affairs website.

Australian Network on Disability

The PACE mentoring program matches job seekers and students with disability with experienced professionals from leading Australian businesses. The mentors will help mentees to build career confidence, develop employability skills, practice interview skills, network, understand the Australian workplace culture, and more

Stepping Into Internships program finds university students with disabilities who are in their final year of university and bring them together with employers. You get practical experience and confidence in the workplace, which will put you on a more level playing field when you finish your degree. 

Jobs Victoria

The Jobs Victoria online hub matches jobseekers who are ready to work with employers who are looking for skilled and talented employees. Jobs Victoria provides job seekers with advice and support to navigate their pathway back to work.

Migrant Workers Centre

Migrant workers in Victoria can sometimes face language and cultural barriers, insecure employment arrangements and discrimination. The Migrant Workers Centre empowers migrant workers in Victoria to understand their rights, enforce them in the workplace, and connect with other migrant workers.

Study Melbourne

Study Melbourne Career Catalyst is a free comprehensive new employability and career development hub to empower you in your career journey and unleash your potential as part of the next generation of global business leaders.

Work rights during COVID-19

The Fair Work Ombudsman has information and resources in over 30 languages to help community members understand their workplace rights and obligations in Australia.


WorkSafe is here to make sure all workers are safe in the workplace. The WorkSafe website features information in different languages about your workplace safety rights in Victoria.

Events and activities

The City of Stonnington has a full calendar of events and activities to get you engaged with your community.

Study Melbourne: Leadership Labs

A series of free events and streams designed to develop the leadership skills and growth mindsets of international students across Melbourne and regional Victoria. Visit the Study Melbourne website to learn more about the program.

Financial support

Community Information & Support Victoria (CISVic)

Local services assist people experiencing personal and financial difficulties by providing information, referral, and support services including emergency relief.

Financial Counselling

Free and confidential service to help sort out your financial issues. Offered by community organisations, community legal centres, and some government agencies.

Future Founders venture scholarships

Applications are now open for the Future Founders Venture Scholarship program, is the only international student-focused initiative that provides seed funding for entrepreneurship ventures. 

Good Money Stores

Safe, affordable, and responsible financial services for people on low incomes. 

Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment

You may be entitled to support if you can't go to work and earn an income because you must self-isolate or quarantine, or are caring for someone with COVID-19.

Services Australia: Crisis Payment

A one-off payment if you’ve experienced an extreme circumstance and are in severe financial hardship.

Utility Relief Grant Scheme

This grant provides help to pay a mains electricity, gas or water bill that is overdue due to a temporary financial crisis.

Health and wellbeing

Embrace: multicultural mental health

Embrace provides free translated mental health and COVID-19 resources in a range of languages for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. 


eHeadspace is a free online and phone support counselling service for young people 12 - 25 and their families and friends. Open 7 days a week. Call 1800 650 890 or visit the Headspace website.

You can participate anonymously in an hour-long online group chat with clinicians and other people going through a hard time, or collect and manage resources to build your own personalised mental health toolkit.

Headspace operates Orygen centres for young people who need help with mental health, physical health (including sexual health), alcohol and other drugs, or work and study support. Centres are located in Werribee, Glenroy, Craigieburn, Sunshine, and Melton.

Lifeline: Mental Health and Wellbeing during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Free tips for looking after your mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Call 02 6215 9400.

Melbourne Sexual Health Centre

Melbourne Sexual Health Centre is a specialised unit for the diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmissible infections (STIs). It is the only centre that provides full-time, free sexual health services to the people of Victoria.

Mental Health Resources For Diverse Communities

It's important to look after your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, and getting support from a trained professional can help to manage your mental health and put some strategies in place to help you cope.

Links to a range of mental health services and resources available to people in Victoria from culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Overseas Student Health cover

If you are a student from overseas on a temporary student visa it is a condition of your visa to maintain adequate health insurance for the duration of your stay in Australia. This means you need to purchase Overseas Student Health Cover and keep your policy up to date whilst you are in Australia and holding a student visa.

Partners in wellbeing

Free support and advice to improve your wellbeing during COVID and beyond. The Partners in Wellbeing team is available from 9 am to 10 pm on weekdays and 9 am to 5 pm at weekends.

Victorian Refugee Health Network

This free service develops responsive health service systems that meet the needs of people from refugee backgrounds, including asylum seekers.

Legal support and information

International student legal information

A free legal information resource for international students living in Victoria. Gives advice on what to do and where to get help for problems connected to where you work, live, and study. You can read stories based on legal problems international students have had, and learn about the people and services that can help you.

Legal aid in your language

If you don’t speak or understand English well, you can call Victoria Legal Aid on 1300 792 387 to speak to someone in your own language about the law and the organisation's services. This service is open Monday to Friday, 8 am to 6 pm and it is free.

Other services

Inner Melbourne Community Legal

St Kilda Legal Services

Libraries and technology

Stonnington libraries are your hub to read, study, learn and explore.

State Library Victoria is the oldest Australian public library and the main library of Victoria.

Free wifi hotspots are available around Melbourne. You can find where and how to connect here. The service doesn't require logins, passwords or other personal data, and it is ad-free.

Rental assistance and accommodation

Housing Victoria

Financial help and services for private renters. Includes information about concessions, hardship support, loans, financial advice, and counselling.

Study Melbourne

Free, confidential, and independent help for international students with accommodation issues, including those students who remain or have returned overseas. Provided by Study Melbourne's International Student Accommodation Legal Service.

Other support

Visa information

Home Affairs

Information about arriving in Australia as an International Student. From 15 December 2021, fully vaccinated international students can travel to Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption. All travellers need to comply with requirements in the state or territory of arrival and any other states or territories they plan to travel to. This includes quarantine and post-arrival testing requirements.

The Australian Government is also providing an incentive for Student and Working Holiday Maker visa holders to return to Australia as soon as possible to help address current workforce shortages.

Any Student visa holder who is currently offshore and travels to Australia between 19 January and 19 March 2022 will be eligible for a refund of their visa application charge (VAC). Any Working Holiday Maker visa holder who is currently offshore and travels to Australia between 19 January and 19 April 2022.

Information on how to apply for a refund is available on the Department of Home Affairs website.

Detailed information about staying in Australia are available from the Department of Home Affairs.

You can also contact our Customer Service team at or on 03 8290 1333.