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International students get a raw deal

UnderpaymentsSeptember 9, 2015

International students get a raw deal

An international student, Minna Ma, worked for a Melbourne sushi franchise and claims that for 5 hours work she received no pay, except for four sushi rolls which she made herself.

The Chinese student replied to an online advertisement for work for $10 an hour, however the owner of the sushi store changed his mind once her shift was completed. He claimed that since she had no experience, Ms Ma needed to work for a period without salary and only received meals of sushi until she learnt.

However, it appears that gross underpayments of international students and foreign workers are common place in restaurants in Melbourne. While the minimum wage for a full-time adult is $17.29 per hour, restaurant insiders claim that many workers are getting wages of less than half of that, cash-in-hand ,without super, holidays or sick leave.

An owner of an eastern suburbs Chinese restaurant has admitted that he pays new workers $8 cash and over time that goes up to $10. He says that staff pay depends on daily profit and that his profit is very low. But an international student, Vhiheng Liu, 25, who worked at the eastern suburbs restaurant, said he felt forced to accept the $8 flat rate because his poor English made it hard to secure work elsewhere.

“I had to work there because I needed money to support myself and even though I knew it was low pay, it was still money,” Mr Liu said.

Secretary of hospitality union United Voice, Jess Walsh, said they were inundated with calls from vulnerable workers being underpaid. “International students work long hours without breaks and without night, weekend rates or overtime rates” Ms Walsh said. “They have become our invisible army of low-paid, highly exploited workers.”

The Fair Work Ombudsman takes the exploitation of foreign and international workers extremely serious. Are you unsure if you are paying the correct wages and entitlements? Employsure can advise on all aspects associated with employee contracts, wage rates and more. Call us today on 1300 651 415.

Sourced via Melbourne Herald Sun

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