Media release: CAPA disturbed by international students’ living conditions
25 March 2018 – The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) is horrified but not surprised at recent reports of international students in Australia enduring sub-standard living conditions.
On Friday, SBS reported on international students living in over-crowded apartments in Sydney. The report mentioned that international students – who are often unaware of their rights as tenants – are packed into small shared spaces, and paying unscrupulous landlords an extortionate amount of rent in the process.
CAPA is concerned that this is one of many ways in which international students are treated unfairly in Australia. In addition to enduring over-crowded living conditions, international students also contend with the issues of poverty, underpayment by shady employers, and discrimination from legitimate employers in their field.
The Government rejoices in the growing number of international students, but does little to protect these students’ rights under Australian law. The day before SBS’s exposé, the Minister for Trade Steven Ciobo celebrated an increase of 16% in education exports in 2016-17. Also, earlier this month, the Minister for Education Simon Birmingham announced that there was a record 624,000 international students in Australia in 2017. While the Government is happy to benefit from the massive amounts of money that international students bring to Australia, they have repeatedly failed in their duty of care to these students.
International students’ living conditions are compromised by a stunning lack of enforcement of Australian laws, as well as legislative failure. Alarmingly, some outrageously over-crowded dwellings exist within the bounds of the law.
“It is unacceptable for international students to be living in over-crowded, dangerous, and even illegal conditions,” said CAPA National President Natasha Abrahams, “With huge continuous growth in international students, a market has arisen for taking advantage of students’ basic needs such as housing and employment. An integrated, hard-line approach from the Government and from universities is needed to address this issue.”
For further comment:
CAPA National President
P: 0430 076 993