International Students Focus of New Fair Work Campaign
25 May 2015 at 11:40 am
International students working in Australia will have better access to information on their rights in the workplace thanks to a new social media campaign initiated by the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said there are almost 340,000 students from other countries, working in Australia to make ends meet, including 76,000 from China and more than 40,000 from India.
“International students can be vulnerable, and it is important to raise awareness among the cohort of minimum lawful entitlements,” James said.
“The reality is that most international students need to work to support themselves while studying, and the best defence against being underpaid or treated unfairly is to know your rights.”
Messages on workers’ rights have been translated into Chinese, Indian (Hindi), Korean, Vietnamese, Portuguese (Brazilian) and Thai and are being broadcast on Facebook and Twitter.
In the first nine months of this financial year, the Ombudsman was contacted by more than 150 students seeking assistance.
While the numbers are small in comparison with the 25,000 annual requests for assistance, the rise in calls from international students, and those on 417 working holiday visas, has been cause for concern.
In additional to social media efforts, community engagement officers will also be delivering presentations, workshops and participating in discussion groups with international student associations, universities, TAFE colleges and private education providers.
Three officers, based in Sydney and Melbourne, have been employed to date.
The campaign comes as a Sydney man faces a Federal court over charges initiated by the Ombudsman concerning the underpayment of a Chinese national.
The woman in her late 20s was allegedly paid only $8 an hour as a casual employee in a pop-up shoe store.
The Ombudsman’s role as a regulator includes monitoring and enforcing workplace laws, with a large focus on educating the community on workplace rights and obligations.