The Australian Government has announced it plans to deliver funding to the Red Cross, to assist with emergency relief and casework support for temporary visa holders.

It will allow the Red Cross to provide one-off, limited amounts to help people with essential needs like food, medicine and accommodation costs.

The Red Cross have said they will work as quickly as possible with the Department of Social Services, to finalise the details and expand assistance to people who are experiencing significant vulnerability.

While they are yet to receive this funding, it’s important to be across how to access it – if this is relevant to you.

Here is some information from the Red Cross, about eligibility and how you can get help.


Who is eligible?

These funds are for people on temporary visas who have no way to support themselves and who have urgent needs.

Because so many people are facing financial difficulty, the Red Cross has to help those with the most urgent needs first. This includes:

  • people who cannot afford basics like food and medicine
  • families with young children, people with a disability, people who are experiencing harm, people who are vulnerable to COVID-19, and people with physical or mental health issues
  • people who cannot access Centrelink, Medicare or other services
  • people with no income, savings or other financial support

Please note, the Australian Government (not Red Cross) makes decisions on eligibility for services like Centrelink (for people unemployed) and Medicare.

If you need more information about your visa conditions, extensions, travel, changes to visa conditions and other matters, including changes to support work in the aged care and agricultural industries – contact Aspire Australia.

We can go through your case and assess your situation – and provide you with options.

The Home Affairs website also has more detailed information for temporary visa holders affected by COVID19.

If you are an international student, we urge you to contact your institution to see what support they can provide.

If you are a tourist, on a working holiday visa or someone wanting to return to your country, please contact your Embassy/Consulate to understand the support they can provide in the first instance.

If you can access your savings, or support from home, we recommend you do so.


What should I do?

If you think you may be eligible, email the Red Cross and they will let you know when they are able to distribute funds.

The Red Cross has asked people don’t send documents yet. When they have the funds, there will be an application form you can complete on their website.

If you send them an email, they will have your contact details and let you know when you can apply.

To protect everyone’s safety during COVID-19, the organisation has requested people avoid going to the Red Cross offices.


I need help now

For the latest and most up to date information, we advise you contact the Red Cross, so they can contact you when funds are available.

If your situation is urgent, we can help. We can arrange for an appointment to help you get some answers to your questions. 

We understand this is a stressful and confusing time – we want to support you.