A recent article in The Guardian exposed the horrific experiences of backpackers “undertaking farm work required by the Australian government if young foreigners wish to extend their working holiday visa by a year”. Some of these travellers were as young as 18, and the more severe incidents included “rapes, sexual harassment, substandard living conditions, breaches of workplace safety laws and financial exploitation”.
To avoid these kinds of situations, there are a few things worth considering if you are planning on completing this type of work. Here are Studies in Australia’s top tips for avoiding exploitation.
Do some research
Before you start a job, ask around or search online to find out more about the business. Is it easy to find information about them? Are there any reviews from previous employees? This information can help give you an idea of an organisation’s reputation. Sites like Glassdoor and Whirlpool often have reviews of workplaces that can be handy for finding a little about their history.
The best way to keep track of everything work-related is to have evidence, which includes keeping a copy of your contract, pay slips and any other documentation that you can refer to if something happens you believe to be wrong.
Open a dialogue
Odds are you will be working with plenty of other international students and backpackers, so don’t be afraid to chat with them. Not only will it give you a chance to make some new friends, you can get an idea of how they are finding their working arrangements.
If you are having real issues with your employer and believe you are not being granted your minimum rights and conditions in the workplace, you should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free information and advice. You can this online (www.fairwork.gov.au) or over the phone (13 14 50), and there are other options for those requiring help with language and hearing or speech assistance.