AN OPEN LETTER TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
Signed by United Workers Union & 17 other organisations
Researchers fear that COVID-19 has created a humanitarian crisis among international students and migrant workers in Australia.
Service, advocacy organisations and community networks know this is true, because we are seeing it first-hand.
People have lost their jobs but have been excluded from JobKeeper and JobSeeker safety nets.
Students have been forced to line up around the block for their next meal.
Refugees and people seeking asylum who were previously employed, are now struggling to keep food on the table for their families and a roof over their heads.
Vulnerable migrants, including undocumented workers are left at risk, afraid to access medical care or government support.
The ‘International Students and Wage Theft in Australia ‘ report published by researchers at the University of New South Wales and University of Technology Sydney highlights a troubling reality of exploitation faced by migrant workers. Researchers are concerned that without any income or support from the Federal Government, people on temporary visas are more likely to be forced into exploitative work conditions, including having their wages stolen.
We ask the Government: what kind of country are we, leaving over a million people who live, work, and contribute to the community with no support through this tough time?
To purposely discriminate against people because of their visa status, by creating conditions where they are at risk of homelessness or exploitative work is unacceptable and must be fixed immediately.
When people are forced into exploitative and unsafe work, it becomes a public health and economic risk for the whole community .
We call on the Government to extend income support for all. It is imperative for our recovery that every one of us gets the support we need to see us through this pandemic and rebuild a stronger, healthier and more just future.