A possie in Aussie

October 5, 2009

Pass the IELTS? Do not learn English if you want a visa

Why do so many international students have problems with the level of English language they need for their studies?

Why do so many people on skilled visas not get jobs in Australia, even though they are highly qualified?

Because it is possible to pass the IELTS at a high level with barely a word of English.

International students and skilled migrants are required to have high-level IELTS (International English Language Testing System) scores to get Australian visas.

In a submission to the senate inquiry into international student conditions, the University of Melbourne Graduate Student Association advocacy service argues that more funding should be allocated to language support for international students and that it is the responsibility of the University to provide this support.

In another submission, N. K. Aggarwal raises the question “do the students really come to Australia to study or simply use the Governments’ permitted method to attain permanent residence? Nearly 95 % of the overseas students attending vocational courses, settle down in Australia permanently”.

Study and employment are indeed secondary goals for many, whose primary aim is PR (permanent residency).

It is because of the PR Holy Grail that many scams have developed, including the one I was made privy to this weekend – books published in Chinese that give all of the questions that a candidate will come across in the IELTS exam, with the answers. Imposters. Secret documents. That’s the Australian visa business

There are for example 200 Reading texts used for the IELTS, which cycles through those randomly to produce each ‘unique’ test.

Chinese candidates can learn to look for two or three key words in the texts which alert them to which answers to give. This of course requires a lot of dedicated rote learning, but is much quicker than trying to actually become proficient in English at this level.

It would be a good idea to find a better testing system, rather than spending millions on remediation once the students and migrants are ion Australia.

Post script: A quote from Andrew Bartlett’s submission, which I wholeheartedly approve, but also want extended to the Chinese who arrived in 2005-2006 on 457 visas:

“It is grossly unfair to encourage international students to come on the promise of permanent residency, and then change the rules after they have arrived.”

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September 14, 2009

Which goods are produced by children and slaves?

Filed under: 457 visas — Nayano @ 8:03 am
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(I am breaking my own rule here, because this item is not about maginalised migrants- but I felt it was too important not to publicise as widely as possible. And, indeed, the Australian 457 visa has come dangerously close to producing forced labour Chinese slave labour in Australia )

Change.org reports that the US Department of Labor has released a document about goods that are produced by slave labour- and more goods were found to be made with child labor than forced labor. List of slave-made goods

The most common goods which have significant incidence of forced and/or child labor are cotton, sugarcane, tobacco, coffee, rice, and cocoa in agriculture; bricks, garments, carpets, and footwear in manufacturing; and gold and coal in mined or quarried goods.

Here are some of the worst offenders for forced labor or slavery:

Bolivia: nuts, cattle, corn, and sugar

Burma: bamboo, beans, bricks, jade, nuts, rice rubber, rubies, sesame, shrimp, sugarcane, sunflowers, and teak

China: artificial flowers, bricks, Christmas decorations, coal, cotton, electronics, garments, footwear, fireworks, nails, and toys

India: bricks, carpets, cottonseed, textiles, and garments

Nepal: bricks, carpets, textiles, and stones

North Korea: bricks, cement, coal, gold, iron, and textiles

Pakistan: bricks, carpet, coal, cotton, sugar, and wheat

Note: This doesn’t mean all goods from that sector in that country were produced with exploitation.

August 15, 2009

457 visa numbers drop

Filed under: 457,457 visas — Nayano @ 8:30 am
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The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Evans, released a summary report for the subclass 457 business (long stay) visa for June 2008-09 this week.

  • Primary applications lodged in 2008-09 were 11 per cent below as compared to previous term
  • Primary applications granted also slipped by 13 per cent below last year
  • Primary visa applications in June 2009 were 45 per cent lower than June 2008 and 40 per cent lower than in September 2008
  • Of the top 15 occupations for primary applications granted, only registered nurses rose up by 18 per cent
  • There were 77,330 primary visa holders in Australia at 30 June 2009, compared to a peak of 83,130 at the end of February 2009
  • New South Wales recorded the biggest decline in use of temporary skilled overseas workers with a 24 per cent drop in primary applications, Western Australia reported drop by 9.5 per cent, Queensland by 7.5 per cent drop and Victoria by 7.1 per cent.

Perhaps this will keep the unions happy? Rudd sweetens unions with 457 hints

August 11, 2009

Australia on trial in first Southeast Asian Court of Women

The first Southeast Asian Court of Women on HIV and Human Trafficking is being held in Bali. More than 20 Southeast Asian women have narrated their personal stories of exploitation and abuse.

I have been concerned about the 457 visa because, whatever controls the government may put in place, the worker is still beholden to the employer, and therefore reluctant to speak out Chinese slave labour in Australia

The stories sometimes do emerge, but most wait until they are out of the country.

Danton Remoto of ABS/CBN News reports the story of a Filipina woman exploited while on a 457 visa in Australia:

“Amalia was a call-center agent in Manila who wanted a better life for her child, who has learning difficulties, and herself. She was being beaten up by her husband, so she left him and raised her child alone.

“She applied for work in Australia as a Restaurant Duty Manager on a 457 visa. Her sister told her that it was a lopsided visa, since she could work for only one employer, her sponsor, and could not leave even if they were maltreating her. But she did not listen to her sister.

“She flew to Australia, only to discover that she is more of waitress and janitor than manager of the restaurant. She stayed in a cramped apartment with three other Filipinas and had many mysterious deductions in her paycheck. When she and her fellow Filipinas banded together with the help of Migrante and Buhay Foundation and asked for better treatment and just wages, the restaurant management fired them, citing the economic crunch as a reason.

“She returned to Manila and has filed a case against her employer, speaking out against the ills of not getting full information about the contract, culture and context of one’s foreign employment.” Filipina workers testify in Southeast Asian Court of Woman

August 4, 2009

Rudd sweetens unions with 457 visa hints

Filed under: 457 visas,Immigrant workers — Nayano @ 8:19 am
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‘Curbs on the use of 457 visas’ was one of the carrots thrown by Rudd to the manufacturing and construction unions at the ALP conference last weekend. Rudd seeks long-term reform era

August 3, 2009

Chinese slave labour in Australia

Filed under: 457,457 visas,Immigrant workers,PR — Nayano @ 8:05 am
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Chinese migrant workers employed by Perth construction firm Kentwood on 457 visas were paid less than $3 an hour. They sometimes worked 11 hours a day, seven days a week. Chinese migrants work in ‘slave labour’ conditions

The individual amounts paid ranged from $7502 to $12,405 for between 9 and 14 months’ work.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has initiated legal proceedings against Kentwood and company director Jian Yang Zhang, of Dianella, claiming he was the mastermind behind the underpayments.

Soon after the Fair Work Ombudsman contacted Kentwood, three of the workers were asked to enter Mr Zhang’s vehicle separately and sign a statement that they had worked no more than 40 hours a week. They refused.

The workers paid up to $2500 each to agents of Mr Zhang to secure jobs with Kentwood and have their 457 visas arranged. Cheap migrant workers vs greedy capitalists: no contest

The five were put to work on construction projects in Perth, a Chinese garden of remembrance in Kalgoorlie and a Chinese temple at the Springvale Cemetery in Melbourne.

Workers on 457 visas are real people, not just a line on a balance sheet

July 23, 2009

Meatworks’ protesters are people, not work units

July 7, 2009

Native-born Australians steal jobs

Who is taking all our jobs?
WE are!

Australian employers have mainly restricted the economy-wide job losses to migrant workers, and Australian-born workers have been shielded from the worst of the global recession.

The Australian says that Australian-born workers dropped 22,000 full-time jobs in the 12 months to May but picked up an extra 74,500 part-time jobs for a net gain of 52,500 positions.

By contrast, migrant workers lost 37,100 full-time jobs, offset by 21,600 extra part-time jobs for a net loss of 15,500. Job slump hits migrants most

Head off anti-immigrant rhetoric- tell all your friends!

July 4, 2009

Shonky Australian training courses lead to PR, bashings and death

Filed under: 457,457 visas,Indian students,Permanency — Nayano @ 8:23 am
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Hamish McDonald writes about The racket no one dares name in today’s Brisbane Times.

The racket? Study in Australia, with the prize of ‘PR’. (Permanent Residency)

I have personal experience of this in the case of children of 457 visa holders desperate for their families not to have to return to China. They research the occupations that DIAC says are needed in Australia and sign up for courses not with the intention to fulfill their dreams, but to win PR for themselves, and they then can sponsor their families. Chinese checked

McDonald reminds us that it used to be the case that foreign students were in fact students, not residents-in-waiting, and that if people who studied here wanted to apply for a further visa once their study was finished, they had to return home to do so. Many were accepted under this scheme.

It was the government of John Howard that introduced the current system so that graduates could apply for residency while still in Australia, and later trade courses were added to the scheme.

Mc Donald says

“Neither education providers or their student customers care about the quality of training, as long as the documentation is in order for the residency application and the cursory inspections are passed.

“In the process, Australia has been cementing a reputation for shonkiness, for making the quick bucks instead of investing in growth, and for not being really interested in India except to make money out of it.”

And now Australia is working hard to tell India that we really really care about their children studying here. New plan aims to stop foreign student attacks

While they are bashed, and disproportionate numbers commit suicide. More suicides uncovered among overseas students

June 8, 2009

Workers on 457 visas are real people, not just a line on a balance sheet

The editorial in the Adelaide Sunday Mail this week says:

“People migrating here on the promise of a job need some certainty the position will not evaporate; if it does, surely there needs to be some flexibility to allow them to find a comparable job. After all, the decision to migrate is a huge one. If such people are going to give a commitment to Australia, Australia needs to ensure they are treated fairly once they arrive.” Migrants need more than a visa

An editorial about the ‘disgraceful’ situation that the Chinese meatworkers who came to Australia nearly 4 years ago on 457 visas find themselves in?

Is the Sunday Mail lamenting that, while the Chinese closed down their lives in China, took the 457 visas because they were informed that they would be a path to Permanent Residency, that path has been effectively closed to them, and they are under threat of having the new lives they and their children have built ripped out from under them? Chinese checked

No.

The subject of the hand wringing is a specialist tax consultant recruited by accounting firm KPMG. From Britain.  Who bought a house. After four months the tax consultant was made redundant and the terms of the visa require that she has 28 days to leave the country.

As the Sunday Mail says, “We are actively trying to lure skilled migrants” and “this sort of disastrous episode would have to make any potential migrant think twice about trying to start a new life here”.

Does the Mail mean “We are actively trying to lure skilled white migrants”?

Are meat working jobs too dirty and distasteful to worry about? Not ‘skilled’ enough?

Does having the funds to buy a house when you first arrive qualify one for sympathy?

To rephrase the Sunday Mail closing remark,

“All workers on 457 visas are real people, not just a line on a balance sheet”.

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