Employers could face criminal charges for exploiting migrant workers. Photo: Daniel Norris/Unsplash
KEY POINTS …. ON WHY AUSTRALIA HAS HIGH YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT AND UNDEREMPLOYMENT … the lack of action by the Morrison Government can only be described as contemptuous of the Australian People!
–wage theft of international students is in all work sectors of the economy
–underpayment is common in local Asian restaurants
–80% of Chinese, Korean and Spanish advertised pay rates below the minimum wage
– 2.2 million temporary migrants in Australia as at June 2019, an increase of nearly 540,000 since 2012
-the increase in temporary visas has been driven by international students; whose numbers have surged by around 250,000 over the same period
International students enslaved by own countrymen
October 21, 2019 | 21 comments
Wage theft from international students has been an enduring theme across the Australian economy over times.
Earlier this year, Alan Fels – the chair of the Migrant Workers Taskforce – described wage theft as “widespread and systematic”, and estimated that one-third of international students are being underpaid, typically by migrant employers of the same nationality:
Former consumer watchdog Allan Fels, who is leading the government’s Migrant Workers Taskforce, said he believed one-third of international students were being exploited, with an unpaid wages bill in the billions… [He estimated] up to 145,000 students on working visas are being underpaid by employers…
*Professor Fels… said workplace exploitation of overseas students was “widespread and systematic”…
*He said exploitation of international students by businesses owned by migrants from the same ethnic group was a particular problem…
The Wage Crisis in Australia – a book released last year by a group of academics – also raised concern for international students, who they claimed were vulnerable to exploitation because they “see themselves as involved in a project of ‘staggered’ or ‘multi-step’ migration”.
According to their analysis, around two-thirds of international students were paid below the minimum wage, with one-quarter earning $12/hour or less and 43% of students earning $15/hour or less.
The Grattan Institute also raised the alarm in July:
Australia is now running a predominantly low-skill migration system. People from this system form a material proportion of the younger workforce. Because of visa conditions, many of these migrants have incentives to work for less than minimum wages, and there is anecdotal evidence that many do…
It is possible that the scale of this inﬂux to the labour market is depressing wages and increasing under-employment speciﬁcally for low-skill younger workers.
With this background in mind, SBS News has published another report profiling wage theft of international students by their fellow migrant countrymen:
Jonathan said he wasn’t sure how to approach his boss about receiving minimum wage: The Feed
Jonathan is an international student [from China] who has been consistently underpaid at a series of part time jobs. He says that when he first arrived in Australia, he was offered $12 an hour so many times he assumed it was legal…
“There was a small supermarket owned by a Chinese couple – they told me that they could pay me $12, and they said that’s the average,” Jonathan said…
Young workers and workers from a migrant background are particularly vulnerable to workplace exploitation: The Feed
Jonathan didn’t end up taking that job, because around the same time he got a better offer — a Chinese restaurant offered to pay him $14.50 an hour instead…
It was only much later that Jonathan learnt that $14.50 an hour isn’t that great…
*He says underpayment is ‘a common thing’ in local Asian restaurants.
“So when it happens to me, I wouldn’t complain that much because, you know, at least I’m working. At least I’m getting money from this place”…
For international students, finding a part-time job that pays minimum wage can be surprisingly tough…
*“It is all too common,” Migrant Workers Centre director Matt Kunkel told The Feed. “We see it everywhere. We see in all sectors of the economy.”
*The video attached to the article is well worth watching. It shows Jonathan applying for around half a dozen jobs at Chinese-run businesses, all of which offered an average pay of $12 per hour – well below the minimum wage. The report also claims that 80% of Chinese, Korean and Spanish advertised pay rates were below the minimum wage.
Another temporary migrant from Korea is also interviewed who reveals that she has been underpaid in every job she has had while living in Australia.
*According to the Department of Home Affairs, there were around 2.2 million temporary migrants in Australia as at June 2019, an increase of nearly 540,000 since 2012:
*As shown above, this increase in temporary visas has been driven by international students, whose numbers have surged by around 250,000 over the same period.
*To be honest, it is not only international students but the entire mass immigration model that is driving wage theft and exploitation. Specifically:
- students, visa holders, tourists all work well below the minimum wage while they hope to qualify for longer-terms visas; and
- their numbers grow endlessly, and so too does the overcapacity in the labour market.
*The result is that virtually every sector of the Australian economy has been flooded with cheap migrant labour, thus eroding worker bargaining power, industrial relations standards, and facilitating wage theft.
Australia’s chronic low wage growth will not be solved until the mass immigration rort is closed.
A restaurant offers to pay Jonathan below the minimum wage