Under Australian law, a person becomes an adult at 18 years of age. However, many of our overseas’ students are younger than 18 years. Students must have a Guardian in Australia who is fluent in English to allow effective communication with Meridian Homestay Services and the Student’s school/college.
For younger students who study for less than five weeks, their tour leader (if they are part of a study tour), or a staff member is able to assume guardianship responsibility. However, any student who is 17 years or younger, and studies for five weeks or more, requires a formal guardian during his/her stay in Australia. For some countries, the immigration authorities also require this before issuing exit visas and it is a requirement of Australian immigration where an entry visa is required.
Although Guardianship is not compulsory for underage Tourist Visa Holders within Australia, Meridian Homestay Services strongly recommends Guardianship for all the reasons presented, below. Guardians need to provide proof of a current Working with Children Check to Meridian Homestay Services.
Meridian Homestay Services will request that the student’s Homestay adult member (over 21 years), accept guardian responsibilities. The Guardian can’t be the Guardian of more than two students at the same time. Guardianship implies extra responsibilities and care of the student, which is why there is an additional payment to Hosts acting as Guardians.
As Homestay Hosts you would be aware that all young people need extra care, attention and guidance. Meridian Homestay Services is looking to you as Guardian to provide this caring role and agree that an effective Guardianship program is also an additional way to ensure that our students are happy, healthy and have a successful Homestay experience.
Guardian Responsibilities include:
- Provide an immediate point of contact for the student’s parents and education institution;
- Ensure smooth communication between the student, education provider and Meridian Homestay Services;
- Act as the first contact for urgent medical treatment which may be required by the student;
- Overseeing doctors’ visits or medical treatment considered necessary by a qualified medical practitioner;
- Routine contact with the parents (via interpreters, if required);
- Discuss matters with the education provider’s representatives relating to the welfare of the student;
- Prepared to discuss the student’s academic reports and progress with the student and education provider;
- Ensure the student’s regular attendance with the education provider (also part of the student’s visa conditions);
- Advise the education provider of any changes of responsibility affecting the guardianship;
- Act as a signatory for homework, diaries, permission forms, excursions etc;
- Ensure the student is home for dinner each night or is home before their parents’ stipulated curfew;
- Assist the student with any cultural problems or difficulties in settling in to life in Australia.