04 Mi­grant stu­dent job fear

Sunday Herald Sun - - News -

A SURGE in in­ter­na­tional stu­dents com­pet­ing for jobs with Aus­tralian school leavers and univer­sity grad­u­ates has sparked a Fair Work Om­buds­man ex­ploita­tion crack­down.

The num­ber of for­eign stu­dents with the right to work in Aus­tralia soared 10 per cent to a record 486,934 dur­ing 2017-18.

Unions have warned the fed­eral gov­ern­ment that over­seas stu­dents des­per­ate to live in Aus­tralia are un­der­cut­ting lo­cal job­seek­ers by work­ing for lower pay.

Fair Work Om­buds­man San­dra Parker has threat­ened to track down bosses who take ad­van­tage. She said 60 per cent of Fair Work court ac­tions last fi­nan­cial year al­leged se­ri­ous breaches of work­place laws by busi­nesses em­ploy­ing mi­grant work­ers.

“In par­tic­u­lar, we’ve seen an in­crease in re­quests for as­sis­tance from in­ter­na­tional stu­dents,’’ she said. “All work­ers in Aus­tralia have the same work­place rights, and the de­lib­er­ate ex­ploita­tion of visa hold­ers will not be tol­er­ated.’’

De­part­ment of Home Af­fairs data re­veals a 10 per cent jump in the num­ber of in­ter­na­tional stu­dents dur­ing 2017-18, with most from China, In­dia and Nepal.

The num­ber of for­eign stu­dents with work rights has leapt 30 per cent in the past three years, while many lo­cal school-leavers and grad­u­ates are strug­gling to find work.

For­eign­ers study­ing at univer­sity or train­ing col­leges, such as TAFE, can work for 40 hours a fort­night, with un­lim­ited hours dur­ing study breaks.

But they can work without re­stric­tions for up to four years af­ter they grad­u­ate from an Aus­tralian univer­sity — pit­ting them di­rectly against lo­cal grad­u­ates for en­try-level jobs.

The num­ber of these “tem­po­rary grad­u­ates’’ bal­looned to a record 71,157 dur­ing 2017-18.

Chi­nese make up nearly a quar­ter of all for­eign stu­dents, with the num­ber in­creas­ing 7.8 per cent to 112,297 by the end of June. The num­ber of In­dian stu­dents grew 18.3 per cent to 70,240, and the Nepalese to­tal soared 55 per cent to 41,696.

The Shop Distribu­tive and Al­lied Em­ploy­ees’ As­so­ci­a­tion, which rep­re­sents work­ers in the re­tail and fast food sec­tors, has warned the fed­eral gov­ern­ment for­eign work­ers are tak­ing Aus­tralian jobs.

“Of­ten, tem­po­rary visa work­ers are be­ing en­gaged where skilled and qual­i­fied Aus­tralian work­ers are avail­able to do the work,’’ the union has told a Se­nate in­quiry.

“It is too easy for un­scrupu­lous em­ploy­ers to abuse and rort the sys­tem. The prom­ise of res­i­dency can be an in­cen­tive for mi­grants to ac­cept poor wages and con­di­tions.’’

The un­em­ploy­ment rate among young Aus­tralians aged 20 to 24 years is 9.3 per cent for those seek­ing full-time jobs, and 5.8 per cent among those seek­ing part-time work, the lat­est ABS data shows.

SER­ENA Wil­liams is back in Aus­tralia in­tent on match­ing the great­est record in grand slam his­tory.Wil­liams flew in with her hus­band, Alexis Oha­nian, and their daugh­ter, Olympia.Her first en­gage­ment is the Hop­man Cup be­fore she be­gins her pur­suit of Mar­garet Court’s tally of 24 sin­gles ma­jors.Court, who is ex­pected to be ab­sent from the Jan­uary 14-27 Aus­tralian Open, logged the last of her grand slam sin­gles crowns at the 1973 US Open.For 45 years, the Aus­tralian great has tow­ered over the sport. But Wil­liams, 37, could equal Court’s feat with an eighth Aus­tralian ti­tle next month.Wil­liams won last year’s Mel­bourne Park crown be­fore tak­ing time off to start a fam­ily.Be­fore ar­riv­ing in Aus­tralia, Wil­liams de­clared she had no in­ter­est in dis­cussing her con­tro­ver­sial US Open fi­nal con­fronta­tion with um­pire Car­los Ramos.“I don’t avoid any­thing,” she said. “I just don’t have time to talk about that. I talked about it, ev­ery­one talked about it for months and months and months and it’s best to move on to big­ger and bet­ter things.” Pic­tures: FAITH MO­RAN/ BACKGRID, TWIT­TER

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