International Students Underpaid Over $1B by Australian Employers, Survey Reveals

2 years ago



Recent survey has revealed that backpackers and international students in Australia have been underpaid over $1B. Turns out, a third of temporary workers in Australia earned $12/hour or less, which is about 50% of the casual minimum wage. The Typical Student team has learned the details of this staggering situation.


Wage Theft in Australia: Key Findings





According to the survey, the “large-scale wage theft” was predominant in farm work, mostly in fruit and vegetable-picking sectors. At that, 15% of farm workers made $5/hour or less. Approximately a third (31%) or workers earned $10/hour or less.


As told by the Guardian, the survey was conducted between September and December 2016. In total, there has been 4,322 valid responses from students representing 107 countries. Anyone who had worked in Australia on a temporary visa could answer the questions. Turns out, for every 100 underpaid migrant workers, only three addressed the fair work ombudsman!


How Many Migrants Suffered From Unfair Pay?  



The report concluded as follows: "The study dispelled the misconception that temporary migrants are underpaid because they are unaware of minimum wage rates in Australia." Even more of a shock comes a revelation that people who earned $15 or less knew that the legal minimum wage was higher.


However, they perceived that few people on their visa can expect to receive minimum wages under Australian labour law, with at least 86% of believing that many, most or all other people on their visa are paid less than the basic legal minimum wage.

  • 4% of respondents admitted that someone in their workplace had threatened to report them to the immigration department.
  • 3% (92 people) admitted to having been threatened by employers or a manager.
  • 5% of respondents had to pay their employers for a job while staying in Australia. They were told this sum would be returned upon leaving. Some respondents said the payment would be over $900.

Mark Morey, the Unions NSW secretary, commented that migrant exploitation was a "national shame that Australia must confront and fix".

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