A possie in Aussie

March 10, 2009

No natural justice for Chinese 457 workers in Australia

Filed under: 457 visas,Immigrant workers — Nayano @ 7:16 am
Tags: , , ,

I have written several times about the position of the Chinese migrant abattoir workers in Australia on 457 visas. The terms of their visas have suddenly been changed, and they must learn English in the next 12 months, or be returned to China. They must achieve IELTS level 4.5 but currently most would be at IELTS level 1 or 2. (For a fuller take on the story, you can read the transcript of a broadcast I made for the ABC’s Perspective program- or listen to it.)

Yesterday I read an email from someone who is a volunteer tutor for the Chinese, in which she expressed her dismay that one of the students, who is expecting a baby, is also expecting that after a couple of months she will have to send the new baby to relatives in China.

The volunteer wrote “I thought that was very sad and I wonder how the student and his wife will be able to cope with that.  I personally cannot imagine having to leave my baby”.

The volunteer went on to ask: “if the parents are paying taxes (which I expect they are) are they not entitled to childcare?” Indeed, they are paying taxes. And no, they are not entitled to any government services in return for their money?”

Soon after I read that I came across a new piece from Brian Hennessey on Online Opinion: Chinese migrant workers’ welcome back to poverty. The article is about the return of Chinese workers from cities to the countryside – but the countryside as described here is where our Chinese friends and neighbours will return to if the worst comes to the worst.

Hennessey asks:  “Is there any hope for fair compensation or natural justice for these abandoned migrant workers? … This is history repeating itself. Europe exploited the same class during the industrial revolution in the 18th century, and now laissez-faire capitalism in nominally communist China is doing the same.’

We could just as well ask “Is there any hope for fair compensation or natural justice for these abandoned migrant workers in Australia?”

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