A possie in Aussie

August 29, 2009

Union asks for ban on foreign students in trade jobs

The Australian Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) is concerned that international student students will work for very little or for nothing to get the experience that they need to apply for permanent residency. Calls for review of Australian visa holders work rights

The Union wants the Federal Government to examine the effect visiting students have on the job market.

The ABC quotes union boss Bob Kinnaird:

“In order to qualify for a permanent resident visa, which is what a lot of the 45,000 people on these work visas are really after, they have to establish 12 months’ skilled work experience in the occupation that they’re nominating.

“We [know] from research and our own experience that some overseas graduates are so desperate to get permanent residence that they’re prepared to take low and in some cases to take no wages at all, in order to qualify for the 12 months.

“Overseas students must be treated with respect and dignity, but we are concerned by the rights of Australian workers and young people in particular. Foreign students ‘competing for Australian jobs’

The CFMEU has told a Senate inquiry that all trade occupations should be immediately removed from eligible occupations for overseas student graduates.

Professor Chris Nyland from Melbourne’s Monash University and Professor Simon Marginson from Melbourne University say the benefits of a $13 billion international student industry balances out such labour market concerns.

The honorary president of the Australian Federation of International Students, Wesa Chau, says it would be unfair to prevent overseas students from working in Australia.

But the point is not that the students are being engaged as workers – rather, they are being exploited for low pay or even no pay because of their desperation to get Permanent Residency. Shonky Australian training courses lead to PR, bashings and death. It is this rort that must be stamped out – not legitimate jobs for overseas students.

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