The entrance to a farm in Australia. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The entrance to a farm in Australia. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A study by the University of New South Wales in Sydney claimed that migrant workers were being exploited economically in Australia.

The report, called Wage Theft in Silence, showed that almost one-third of migrant workers earned US$8.7 or less per hour, which is half the statutory minimum wage for casual workers, Red Flag reported.

Statistics from the report said 2,250 of 4,322 migrants surveyed reported being underpaid while holding a temporary visa in the country. About 54% of those underpaid said they had tried to recover the wages.

In addition, the study debunked the myth of migrant workers’ ignorance towards their rights. Most of the workers knew about the statutory minimum wage, and workers from Asia were most likely to want to recover their remaining wages.

Even so, less than one in 10 workers have taken action to get their money, as many fear being deported or fired.

A migrant worker from Indonesia named Rizky spoke to Red Flag about his experience. He said fruit pickers worked for 10 hours a day in extreme weather. He said the nature of the work took a toll on his body as he could only work two to three days a week due to back pain.

He added the farms he worked on did not provide basic amenities. Rizky also pointed out that migrants from different places were treated differently. He claimed those from Europe were paid more and treated better, while Asians were constantly yelled at and exploited.

The Indonesian, who organized unions back home, joined the National Union of Workers as he believed he needed allies to fight exploitation.