Australian survey on international student exploitation planned

 In News

The Migrant Justice Institute, in a conversation with The PIE News, explained how the working conditions of international students in Australia need another round under the spotlight through its national temporary migrant survey.

“Lots of organisations, and indeed the government have been crying out for us to do another survey to really try and determine what exploitation looks like,” said Laurie Berg, co-executive director of the Migrant Justice Institute, referring to the organisation’s 2016 and 2019 surveys on the issue, as well as a special Covid-specific survey in 2020.

On July 5, the survey will launch inviting universities across Australia to get their international students to take part, asking about issues like wage deduction.

“We’ll ask about how much they got, whether they were asked for money back, whether deductions were made for accommodation or uniforms, or other things that might be illegal,” explained Berg.

Questions will also ask about sexual harassment, whether employers have coerced them in any way, and even ask about modern slavery indicators that they may not be aware of, like “feeling forced to work more hours than agreed or do tasks they didn’t agree to up front”.

“We’re also asking if international students have sought help… and if they did, what was the outcome, and if they didn’t, what has stopped them from feeling able to access help? Those questions are incredibly important,” she continued.

Berg noted that MJI has been able to determine in the past that very few students seeking help from a government agency actually got the help they asked for.

Findings from previous surveys, Berg claimed, have translated into direct reforms by the government – including the inclusion of international students in the pandemic’s JobKeeper subsidy program, and in 2023 a law was signed enshrining basic work protections for workers regardless of immigration status.

The survey is supported by peak bodies in Australia including IEAA, English Australia, Universities Australia and ISANA, among others.

What has stopped [international students] from feeling able to access help? Those questions are incredibly important

Laurie Berg, Migrant Justice Institute

It is set to launch in July, and will be open to international students of universities and private colleges, as well as to working backpackers. A webinar on June 13 delivered in conjunction with IEAA will be available for signup to universities that wish to find out more.

“Education providers that have over 150 of their international students participate will be provided with a confidential summary of their specific findings,” Berg noted – with students also being given the direct opportunity to win prepaid Mastercard vouchers.

“We feel that this survey is going to empower [universities’] own students with more knowledge about their rights, will provide information that can [make way for] better policies and services for international students, and really promote their wellbeing in Australia,” Berg added.

Results of the survey are set to be released in 2025.

The post Australian survey on international student exploitation planned appeared first on The PIE News.

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt