Backpackers and international students suffer significant wage theft
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On 21 November 2017 the findings of a national survey of temporary workers and Working Holiday Makers in Australia has uncovered systematic evidence of exploitation of backpackers and international students working in a range of industries. The study was carried out by UNSW, UTS and the University of Sydney. Touted as “the most comprehensive study of temporary migrants’ work and conditions in Australia”, the report draws on survey responses from 4,322 temporary migrants from 107 countries in all Australian states and territories.
The ‘Wage Theft in Australia’ report makes the following points:
1/4 of all international students earn $12 per hour or less and 43% earn $15 or less in their lowest paid job.
1/3 of backpackers earn $12 per hour or less and almost half earn $15 or less in their lowest paid job.
Workers from Asian countries receive lower wage rates than those from North America, Ireland and the UK.
The study also notes that workers from some countries are more likely to be paid in cash.