Newsletter of August 2019 - Migrant Workers Centre Skip navigation

Newsletter of August 2019

Date: 3 Sep 2019

Adult Migrant English Program Students Welcome Session on Workplace Rights

In a joint effort by the Migrant Workers Centre and the Box Hill Institute to strengthen the local migrant community, MWC organiser Lavanya and Hanna delivered a "Know Your Rights at Work" session to dozens of engaging Melbourne Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) students in Lilydale on 20 Aug 2019.

Assisted by interpreters and AMEP tutors at the Lilydale Skills and Job Centre, some 60 students put newly acquired English language skills to use and proactively engaged in the session and fervently discuss with peers and the speakers about Australian workplace laws, workers’ entitlements and where to seek help when problems arise.

The students, who mostly are from Myanmar, China, South Korea and middle-eastern countries, particularly welcomed Lavanya and Hanna’s presentation which covered complicated concepts and facts but was delivered in simple and easily digestible manners.

Many students were so enthusiastic about them being able to participate the initiative that they stayed after the session for Q&As and looked forward for future in-depth sessions and workshops.

“It is great to see migrants are overcoming language barriers and learning about workplace rights at the same time,” noted a volunteering interpreter.

MWC are grateful for the assistance and facilitation provided by staff at the Skills and Job Centre, and are excited to know that AMEP lessons in the coming weeks would focus on workplace rights and related topics.

MWC would love to explore future collaborating opportunities with the Box Hill Institute and other community organisations, and very much look forward to serving the local community more extensively and regularly going forward.

MWC Launches Migrant’s Feature Profile “Worker’s Story”

August 2019 marked the launch of a new segment of the Migrant Workers Centre’s original content online - “Worker’s Story”.

The feature profiles aim to present a close-up look into the lives of the often overlooked or even invisible aspects of the lives of migrants and international students in Victoria.

The two most recent stories featured Darren, a Taiwanese barista, and Sriman, an Indian international student, both of whom have been living in Australia for a number of years, have their wages stolen and are receiving help from the Migrant Workers Centre.

In his last job at a café in East Melbourne, Darren was paid a flat rate between $13-$14 per hour, and his daily job involved making coffee, working in the kitchen, making deliveries, setting rosters and ordering supplies.

In Sriman’s case, he worked as a causal chef since 2017, but due to fear of losing his student visa, lack of knowledge of workplace laws in Australia and what are the options for international student when encountering problems, Sriman chose to keep quiet about being ripped of by the boss until he got in touch with MWC and subsequently joined Hospo Voice, a union for hospitality workers.

Federal Government Under Pressure as Tamil Family Faces Deportation

The fate of a Tamil family of four took a dramatic turn on 30 Aug 2019, as the plane deporting them back to Sri Lanka landed in Darwin due to an injunction ordered by a Melbourne judge over the phone.

After spending more than a year at a Melbourne-based detention centre, Nades, Priya and their two young children were transported to Melbourne Airport on Friday night and forced to board the plane bound for Colombo, capital of Sri Lanka where they fear the local government would persecute them due to past family links to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Dozens of activists flocked to the airport in support. "We chanted, we tried many different ways to stop the deportation, and two of our supporters managed to cut through the fence and go to the tarmac area, where the family was being held," said Tamil Refugee Council spokesperson Aran Mylvaganam.

The Morrison government came under fire for not exercising ministerial discretion to let the family stay, but the Prime Minister has ruled out intervention despite public outcry supported by the Australian unions.

"And to have changed our policy on this, or to exercise intervention powers on this, would be to send exactly the wrong message to those who are looking to sell tickets to vulnerable people looking to get on boats,” noted the PM.


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