COVID-19: What you should do if you go broke abroad

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Published 2020-04-24 15:00

Economic downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic is having a significant impact on the global labour market – with shorter working hours for some and the risk of being laid-off for others. This situation is of much concern for thousands of students around the world, as well as working-holidayers. Here are some tips to guide you in case you go broke, until things get better.

Seek financial assistance from your host country

In Canada, temporary residents having an employment contract, who get fired due to COVID-19 may be eligible for Federal Government Employment Insurance. The main condition is to have worked at least 700 hours. The amount you will receive will depend on the region's unemployment rate and your total compensation. You can apply directly on the government website. However, keep in mind that deadlines can be long given the current situation.

Quebec has also implemented temporary assistance for workers who are in quarantine due to COVID-19 and who are not eligible for the Employment Insurance. A sum of $ 573 per week is provided for a period of 14 days of isolation, and this can be extended up to a maximum of 28 days. You can apply on the government of Quebec's website.

Australia and New Zealand, for their part, do not currently offer assistance for temporary residents.

Look for a job in sectors that are still recruiting

Some businesses, like supermarkets, are still recruiting during this period. For example, Walmart in Canada is currently looking for 10,000 workers in its stores and distribution centres due to the traffic increase during the epidemic. Amazon also announced a recruitment plan.

Agriculture is another sector that will be mass-recruiting soon. Whether in Australia or Canada, fruit-picking and vegetable-picking by foreign workers are less likely to happen. Given the current lack of workforce, why not try your luck?

Get a HelpX

If your industry is no longer recruiting during the COVID-19 pandemic, try to find a HelpX. It's fairly straightforward; you work with your host, and in exchange, you get accommodation and meals. Browse the HelpX website for opportunities and send a message to introduce yourself. In Canada, however, Canadians are being wary at the moment, keeping in mind that a 14-days quarantine period is required for newcomers, so make sure to indicate that you've been in the country for many few weeks. Also, during this period, avoid spending your savings on rent or unnecessary shopping. Also, consider having a look at websites like WWOOF or Workaway.

Go back home

Many countries have set up a special desk for students who are currently abroad. While in some cases, like Australia, students have been given the option to go back home, in others, they are advised to pay close attention to instructions given by their universities and consulates. New Zealand, for example, recommends to avoid international flights for the next 30 days unless you have financial or health reasons to do so. Whatever your choice, keep in mind that safety comes first!