Media releases

Media Release: Outrage at international student wage theft

22 Nov 17

The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) is outraged at the ongoing problem of wage theft among our international students. CAPA is calling on the Employment Minister Michaelia Cash and Education Minister Simon Birmingham to urgently address this issue.

CAPA is dismayed, yet not surprised at the outcome of the ‘Wage Theft in Australia’ report, knowing that international students have been taken advantage of constantly in the work place. With one quarter of international students being paid $12 per hour or less, and others being forced to pay money back to their employers after getting the minimum wage, it is clear this epidemic needs to be addressed now.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has recently been campaigning to ensure students know their rights to be treated and paid fairly at work, but clearly this is not sufficient to change the culture of wage theft and student exploitation. There is a myth that international students are wealthy, however, as the report clearly indicates, a shocking amount of international students face difficult and exploitative circumstances while attending Australian universities.

Today, CAPA put the call out looking for international students that have faced underpayment but almost all of them were afraid to speak up or name their workplace for fear that their visa would not be renewed.
It is time for the Federal Government to get back to work and start addressing these issues.

CAPA National President Peter Derbyshire says:  

“It seems if you are a domestic student and getting your penalty rates cut or an international student and having your wages stolen the Federal Government clearly doesn’t care about workers”

“While the Turnbull Government takes a week off there are workers out there being ripped off. How about showing up and dealing with these issues”

For Comment: 
CAPA National President Peter Derbyshire
M: 0435 047 817