Indian international students exploited wordwide

CBC has published an all too familiar report on how international students from India are breaking Canada’s 20-hour a week work rule in order to earn enough to pay for tuition fees and living costs, and how this is leading to underpayment and exploitation in the workplace:

Abhishek Hastir, an engineering student from India now at Sheridan College in Brampton, says he’s not currently working more than his study permit allows, but he has in the past.

“If you look around, there are plenty of students who would be breaking the law to be honest,” Hastir says.

“They have no choice.”

Hastir says in his first year of school he would attend class, and then work overnights in a factory from 7 p.m. to 11 a.m. He says he knew many students who had the same routine.

Referring to that factory job, he says: “They definitely didn’t treat us like humans, I used to work on a production line where they would speed up the conveyor belt.”

Hastir says many of his co-workers in that factory were also foreign students, and that it’s not uncommon to see international students falling asleep in classrooms and on buses because of their work schedules…

The 22-year-old says students have no choice because they have to find ways to pay their fees… “Students either have to work too many hours or they have to pinch pennies to feed themselves so they can pay their school fees”…

Some of the issues students have reached out about include being paid less than minimum wage and facing sexual harassment in the workplace…

According to government numbers, in 2015, close to 32,000 people from India held study permits in Canada. That number in 2018 was around 107,000 — more than tripling in three years.

The story is similar in Australia. In 2016, the Senate Education and Employment References Committee released a damning report entitled A National Disgrace: The Exploitation of Temporary Work Visa Holders, which found that Australia’s Working Holiday Maker and student visa holders were “consistently reported to suffer widespread exploitation in the Australian workforce”.

The final report of the Migrant Workers’ Taskforce, released in March, similarly reported that “wage underpayment is widespread and has become more entrenched over time” with international students among those most exploited:

Underpayment of migrant workers is certainly not a new problem. It has not recently emerged, but instead it has been a feature of some sectors of the Australian labour market for years… results from the Wage Theft in Australia report conducted in 2016 indicate that… one quarter of international students and one third of working holiday makers (32 per cent) were paid around half the legal minimum wage.

… international students tolerate and accept lower than lawful wages not only because the wage rates can be high in comparison to their home countries, but also that lower than lawful wages are normalised and accepted among their international student peers.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has also warned that the huge pool of international students and other temporary migrant workers is a direct cause of Australia’s record low wages growth:

The relatively recent availability of a large and vulnerable pool of temporary migrant workers has undoubtedly contributed to current record low levels of wages growth and a growing reluctance by employers to train local workers…

There have been a range of abuses uncovered which have clearly shown that the entire system is broken. From 7-11 and Domino’s to agriculture, construction, food processing to Coles, Dominos and Caltex, it is clear that the abuses occur in a number of visa classes whether they be students, working holiday makers or visa workers in skilled occupations…

Finally, the book The Wages Crisis in Australia directly blames the surge in temporary migrant workers, including international students, for driving down wage growth:

Most international students and temporary skilled workers, together with many working holiday makers, see themselves as involved in a project of ‘staggered’ or ‘multi-step’ migration, whereby they hope to leap from their present status into a more long-term visa status, ideally permanent residency…

Though standard accounts describe Australian immigration as oriented to skilled labour, this characterisation stands at odds with the abundant evidence on expanding temporary migration and the character of TMW [temporary migrant worker] jobs… the fact that their work is primarily in lower-skilled jobs suggests that it is more accurate, as several scholars point out, to speak of a shift in Australia towards a de facto low-skilled migration programme

Research shows that in industries where employers have turned to temporary migrants en masse, it erodes wages and conditions in these industries over time, making them less attractive to locals…

Given that international students are behind the explosion of temporary migrant workers across Australia:

It stands to reason that their exploitation is also a key factor behind Australia’s anaemic wage growth. And this is being replicated in places like Canada, which also have large pools of vulnerable and exploitative international students.

[email protected]

Unconventional Economist

Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. Leith is an economist and has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.


    • Yep – thanks HaroldUS.

      So the words ‘Exploited’ and ‘exploitation’ are stated 8 or so times in the article.

      The foreign students are not exploited.

      They are all willing participants in visa fraud, false documents, fake health checks, fake courses, fake funds and in working & living illegally.

      India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Middle East, China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, South East Asia.
      The foreign criminal trafficking syndicates ply their trade.

      Aa example:
      The old Indian mother abandoned, sick, diseased useless, the ‘loan sharks scouring the Indian slums and rural areas for such a candidate – then the ‘loan’ and the mummy boy (only son, or the 2nd or 3rd son) packaged up, fake health check & documents, the nonsense course, sent to Australia to live & work illegally. To steal at least 2 or 3 jobs. 60 hour+ weeks.
      To repay that loan debt, to send back remittances, to secure the PR, to bring in the sick mother, her sisters and then cash back to sponsor the rest as our Australian healthcare & welfare burden.

      The Thailand Issan young single mother, abandoned as soon as she as got pregnant, the baby dumped on the family in the village & packaged up as a ‘student (usually with a cousin in a thai sham marriage as ‘partner’) to work in the brothel from arrival.
      The partner (full work rights) spends 4 years working both legally & illegally then both attempt the PR and to be the anchor for chain migration / cash back.

      The ‘Australian Foreign student’ prostitution remittances to Isaan province are now only second to the rice crop as their main source of income.
      Not exploited. Willing participants. The expected duty of the daughters of Isaan.

      The end of life Taiwanese or Korean vice Workers, tattooed up, un-saleable after 25-30years, so sent to Australia on the foreign student visa.
      Tens of thousands of them. That’s their pathway.

      An entire Chinese Hukuo underclass – Chinese internal pass system illegals – selected from the 110 million 2nd & 3rd generation peasant lowlife that infest the tier 1 Chinese cities and are being relocated to the western ‘ghost cities’.
      Sent to Australia as foreign students & partners to live and work illegally as part of the vast Chinese run onshore criminal & vice enterprise here.

      The Bangladeshi & Pakistani or Middle East jihadi, groomed from childhood in Wahhabi run madrassa that infect bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan – to perform the Hiraj – (the invasion), infiltration and subjugation of the infidel – and to work and live illegally, secure a PR, be an anchor for chain migration.

      None are exploited.

      They along with their criminal syndicates, the loan sharks, the fake health check doctors, the agents, the ‘academies’ ‘institutes’ ‘colleges’ and ‘international student’ operations here that provide the visa alibi are the ones ‘exploiting’ Australia & Australians.

      Go spend some time in these recruitment catchments.
      Or just go on any ‘campus’ spend some time with these ‘foreign students’, why they are here, what they are really doing.
      None are here for the education.
      None are exploited.
      All are willing participants in working & living illegally and they knew that before they arrived, paying bribes and getting loans to do so.
      None are coming in with funds (self declared or declared) these are all frauded – the money whisked out by the foreign criminal agent or sponsor immediately after the once off check.

      It’s an ‘Export Industry’
      Australia international education is not a $35 billion export. It may be $35 billion in economic activity but it’s closer to a $25 billion loss in Australia unemployed, taxation, housing education infrastructure congestion and environmental degradation.

      The total fees for the nonsense education for the 653,000 primary foreign students & 59,000 secondary partners (712,000 across all visa categories including DFAT) is are only $8.3 billion..
      And even that fee money and all other money in their economic activity was earned here – usually illegally.
      Creating an Australian unemployed impact cost of at least 500,000 Australian jobless or $9.3 billion.
      Remittances? A record outflow of $18.2 billion.
      Foreign student remittances outflow estimate is over $6.2 billion.
      So a $31 billion foreign criminal run underground industry (712,000 foreign students & partners @$43.7k each) that creates $8.3 billion in fees, -$9.3 billion in unemployment costs and over $6 billion is earned here & sent out.

      Who is exploiting who here?

    • fitzroyMEMBER

      Good point. The people who are exploited are those who rely on the maintenance of the labour laws. Poor locals.
      Further, the abrogation has effects further up the wage tree to more workers who earn more. This can be seen in the retention of profit by business and labour. Poor students are used as weapons to break the labour laws

      • haroldusMEMBER

        We are all of us in the gutter, but some of us are being ruthlessly, mercilessly buggered.

      • But harry, you’re supposed to be face-up, looking at the stars. You need to master the art of knowing your place in the gutter.

  1. The question is. Are we exploiting them, or are they exploiting us? Companies are definitely exploiting them, but they are definitely exploiting the Australian populace. My tax dollars are schooling a lot of Kumars. And 711 is making a lot from Apu. Who is the ultimate winner? Certainly not me!

    • DominicMEMBER

      As I’ve said countless times before — immigration and a welfare state are not compatible.

      Granted, there are many people like my parents who believe that Govt resources are not really scarce at all and that it is more a question of how ‘mean’ (or otherwise) the Govt is when it comes to handing out the goodies.

      For those who live in the real world, every additional warm body that arrives to live in the country will be supported in some fashion by existing taxpayers and few of those will ever repay the true cost of what they have consumed while here. This means that the eventual failure (bankruptcy) of the welfare state is a nailed-on certainty.

    • Some would say gaming the system is exploitation.

      – Dropping a baby upon arrival on a temporary visa, using these children as leverage for PR or for the appeals process.
      – Dragging the appeals process over several years
      – Fake addresses in ‘regional’ locations to get points up for PR
      – Capitalising on ‘diversity’ hiring practices, and then adopting nepotism when they become hiring managers

      It’s a growing list of the ways they are working us.

      I have no sympathy for them.

    • blacktwin997MEMBER

      This part:
      Abhishek Hastir, an engineering student from India now at Sheridan College in Brampton, says he’s not currently working more than his study permit allows, but he has in the past.

      “If you look around, there are plenty of students who would be breaking the law to be honest,” Hastir says.

      “They have no choice.”

      Seriously, he’s saying that breaking the law is the only way these Indian students can survive. The fact that so many of them are apparently happy enough breaking Australian laws to get a leg up on PR is not a good omen for their law abidingness down the track. Also funny that he used to break the law but not now…

  2. “They have no choice.”

    Yes they do. They can go back to the village and live with their grandpa.

    “It’s not like they were earning money to send back home,” Hastir says.

    Sending money to the grandpa happens after “graduating”.

    students coming to Canada would be better protected if they were given permanent resident status upon arrival.

    Holy cow! That takes the cake! I never heard that demand before. “Just give an Aussie passport to every exam cheat upon landing at an Aussie airport”!

    No, the best remedy is to have jail for wage theft and simply ban foreigners from taking the truck driving jobs.

  3. If workers have not received a real increase in wages since wages and productivity diverged in the mid 70s, due to neoliberalisms economic dominance, are we not just seeing the late stage results. Seems to denote something far more fundamental than immigration is at play, per 7-11 its run out of Texas HQ and treats its U.S. franchises just as bad.

    • DominicMEMBER

      Divergence in the mid ’70s …. mmmmm, what else happened around about then?

      Oh, that’s right, we moved off a gold standard (Bretton Woods) and went “full FIAT”. Coincidence? I think not.

      I have a pretty strong feeling that “Neoliberalism” (whatever that actually means) is a likely outgrowth of the above event. No fiat, no neoliberalism! But you can’t have it both ways.

  4. reusachtigeMEMBER

    I have no problem with Indians being exploited. It is in their nature to be so. They do their best to exploit retail transactions themselves so it all goes around equally.

  5. What’s the issue? The true cost of labour for 7Eleven, truck driving, and IT support jobs, is being discovered. It should be very low due to the low level of intellectual ability required to do these jobs. Trying to restrict the labour pool to artificially drive up the cost creates an unsustainable wages bubble which hurts ordinary people when it bursts, moreso than if you don’t let the bubble form.

    • No one needs 7Eleven or Uber or Deliveroo. If you tried to restrict the labour pool and wages went up as a result, the propiertors would have the choice of taking a cut in profits or passing the cost on to their customers which would probably reduce sales. That in turn could see some of these businesses fold, and, frankly, good riddance.

      • Ah, the true colours come out. Anti-freedom of choice. You should see about getting a visa for Venezuela.

      • I’m not stopping anyone choose these services if they want, but my contention is that the customers using the services put almost no value on them ;without artificially lowered wages paid to those providing the services, which in turn artificially lowers the price the customer pays, they would just cease to exist, and after about a week no one much would care. As has already happened with Foodora in Australia (with no fs given by anyone as far as I know) and Amazon’s version of Uber Eats.
        If I’m wrong, otoh, the proprietors could pay higher wages and pass the cost onto customers without losing so many customers that they don’t make a profit.
        That isn’t Venezuela – that’s capitalism.

      • Yes, they are, that’s what a large pool of people created with the specific purpose of avoiding labour laws is – a device to artificially lower wages – and that IS the whole point.

      • If you raise the minimum legal price of pizza delivery to $10 per delivery, some lazy pricks will pick up the pizza themselves and some will tip $10 to the delivery driver instead of $20.

        Pizza shops will still exist and petrol stations will still exist.

        A UBI would improve the lot of the poor Aussies without having to raise the minimum wage (which would send more Aussie factories offshore).

    • The true cost is not being discovered as there is an endless parade of coolies willing to work for nearly nothing if it helps them get PR eventually. I think you will also find that white collar parasites like yourself (I’m guessing you are in PR or the fire sector, or a LNP stooge in which case you are in both) need these pseudo slaves to do the things that due to apathy and stupidity thay can no longer do for themselves, such as cooking, cleaning and hand jobs.

      • Is that why you became one? You aren’t very good. Perhaps you should deliver me my dinner on scooter instead.

      • Yep. I find that right wing pricks online post incorrect English very frequently. I guess they are astro surfers for right wing pricks.

      • i’d have to numb my member so it felt like it was someone else’s. but yeah, andrew probably a lot of money for you in wristy business.

      • I don’t need the money, thanks. I earn plenty in a profession. You’re clearly projecting. It might be a good option for you. I don’t think you can do any better.

  6. With the proliferation of WhatsApp, surely word has gone out by now what the reality is to those contemplating coming here.

    So they are informed, and still come here knowing they have to game the system and break the laws to get by (or do well).

    They are exploiting us.

    • blacktwin997MEMBER

      No wonder we’re becoming a more racist country – we’re mass importing racists!