Foreign Students In Australia Exploited As Slaves

Foreign Students Exploited As Slaves

By Nick O’Malley, Heath Gilmore, and Erik Jensen
15 July 2009
The Sydney Morning Herald


In Australia, a “system of economic slavery” has emerged in which foreign students are exploited for free labor (or even required to pay to work).  In order to gain residency in the country, many foreign students are forced to do 900 hours of work, and there is no requirement that they be paid.  Students are charged for use of equipment for jobs they are not being paid for and often have nothing to do with their academic interests.

However, it is not enough that the students be exploited for free labor, but also are forced to pay “placement fees” so that they may be advertised as free labor to local businesses.  Teachers who do not pass students may also find that migration agents no longer send students to their classes and they will lose their jobs, so the importance of grades and education is pitted against how much the teachers value their jobs.  Employers have a substantial amount of power over students who work for them because if the student in question is fired, they may lose their job and have to leave the country.

Most work lasts for ridiculous hours, provides no pay, no insurance for injury, and actually requires the students to pay extra money on top of their living and transportation expenses.  This can result in debt that they must pay off for the rest of their lives, 400 hours of unpaid work and then an injury which results in their deportation, and a situation and position that can be easily be defined as a form of modern day slavery.

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