Sunday, December 14, 2008

Racisim and Discrimination

Over the past week or so there have been a couple of interesting things that have popped up in the Age regarding international students in Melbourne. Of most interest to Soy Sauce was an article entitled ‘Students face racism, exploitation’. The article reported that international students in Australia face discrimination in three key areas: the workplace, the classroom and the housing market.

These findings were based on two submissions recently handed to a Victorian State Government taskforce which is examining some of the problems within the international education industry. The submissions were made by the Tenants Union of Victoria and the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.

The Tenants Union submission found that in the housing market, students face discrimination when applying for rental properties. Unable to find a house to rent within the mainstream rental market, they and are forced into applying for private rooming houses which are often overcrowded and unsafe.

The Human Rights Commission submission states that in the workplace international students are paid less and asked to work unreasonable hours . According to the Commission these students have too little information about their legal and human rights, and in cases where an incident does occur, they are often too scared to go through formal channels to make a report for fear of breaching student visa conditions.

Whilst the task force's final report was due to be presented to Skills and Workforce Participation Minister Jacinta Allan last month, the Age article indicates that it is still in the process of being completed.

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