A groundbreaking app offering students multilingual legal information has been launched at the annual Lord Mayor’s Welcome for international students at Sydney Town Hall.
MyLegal Mate is the first mobile service of its kind in Australia. Developed with grant funding from the City of Sydney, the app will provide free legal guidance tailored for international students across NSW.
Speaking at Thursday’s annual reception for Sydney’s newest international student arrivals, Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City was proud to support the app that would further support overseas students studying, living and working in Sydney.
“Moving to a new city can be a bewildering experience, especially if there are language barriers and you do not know where to go for advice,” the Lord Mayor said.
“This wonderful new app will put an invaluable legal resource in the pockets of international students and provide support as soon as they need it.
“It will help ensure they’re given every opportunity to have a safe, enjoyable and rewarding time, living and studying in Sydney and across NSW.
“International students enhance our city by contributing to Sydney’s diversity and strengthening our global connections.
“Being able to attract and nurture the best candidates from around the world is an investment in our city’s future. That’s why we’ve supported this innovative information resource, and look forward to it helping students from all backgrounds.”
The app uses interactive video to provide students with instant access to legal information, delivered in English and six community languages. The app will be offered to education providers on an annual subscription basis, allowing students to access the information free-of-charge.
MyLegal Mate was created by the Redfern Legal Centre with funding from the City of Sydney, StudyNSW and the Fair Work Ombudsman and built using the technology of Sydney company Practera.
It is the brainchild of solicitor Sean Stimson, the head of Redfern Legal Services International Student Legal Service NSW. Mr Stimson was this year awarded the NSW Human Rights Medal for his work with the state’s 260,000 international students.
“Redfern Legal Centre provides a free statewide legal advice service for international students funded by Study NSW, but this app will offer new and immediate support,” Mr Stimson said.
“This is an innovative way for our service to ensure that international students can gain immediate access to tailored legal information and be empowered to take greater control when problems occur.
“By downloading the app on enrolment, international students will also be armed with information about their rights before they start their course, with the ultimate aim of preventing issues arising while they’re in Australia.”
The app addresses four legal areas identified by students and service providers as having the most need – employment, housing, disputes with education providers and sexual assault. The information is provided in multiple languages and delivered in a face-to-face format that is friendly and accessible.
Redfern Legal Centre was among 25 community groups sharing information and services with Sydney’s latest international students from more than 60 nationals at the Town Hall reception.
Stallholders at the welcome included Surf Life Saving, NSW Police, ACON (AIDS Council of NSW) and the Fair Work Ombudsman, along with a range of education, health and accommodation providers.
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