According to a university-led survey, most international students trapped in Australia during the pandemic say they ‘d advise their friends not to come here and study, after witnessing job abuse and being shut out of coronavirus support payments.
It has led many migrants to agree to get by unpaid or cheap labour, with Unions NSW accusing the Commonwealth of dropping out international students.
Brazilian student Renata Tavares Silva had applied for hospitality jobs and said she was asked to work at a café in Gordon, in Sydney’s Upper North Shore, for five hours without pay.
“I was supposed to be doing a trial, but it was clear to me that I was there to work for free,” she told the ABC’s AM program.
When the 27-year-old refused to stay for five hours, she said she was offered money for three hours of her time.
“[The owner] told me if I passed the trial, she would pay me $17, which is below minimum wage.
“It made me realise I had to leave as soon as possible,” she said.
Ms Tavares Silva complained about her experience to the Fair Work Ombudsman but said her treatment and reports from other Australian foreign students left her disappointed.
“I’ve heard people being offered $13, I have heard of people being offered $8,” she said.
According to UNSW associate professor Bassina Farbenblum, a study of 6,000 foreign students and temporary migrants, yet to be published by Sydney University of Technology and the University of New South Wales, showed the majority were unimpressed with Australia’s treatment of them.
“The majority of international students and backpackers, that’s 59 per cent, say that following their experience in Australia during COVID, they would now be somewhat less likely or far less likely to recommend Australia as a place for others to study or for a working holiday,” she said.