(The pictures are from www.nipic.com

The issue

When you study aboard in Australia, what will you experience? Of course, you can enjoy the fresh air, healthy food and beautiful beach every day.

(The pictures are from lihuibo210.blog.sohu.com)

Also, you can get advantaged education from your university.


(The pictures are from www.teacherrelief.com.au)

However, very likely, you may face serious exploitation whiling working. According to Australian Government (2015), in 2015, the national minimum wage of Australia is $17.29 per hour. However, in terms of a survey done by the United Voice, in the same year, 60 percent of international students worked in Australia were paid less than the national minimum wage (The Age, 2015). What is more, more than a quarter of them earned less than $10 per hour (The Age, 2015). Also, the situation is proved by the Council of International Students Australia (CISA). As it says, more than half of international students work in Australia get less or just a little more than the national minimum wage (SBS, 2014). Faced with this situation, The Age (2015) says: “Australia grows richer by exploiting foreign students.”

Busy waiter and waitresses working at bar night
International students are working at bar night

Actually, low wage is only one part of the exploitation of international students in their work. Besides that, unpaid wages, too long working time and high intensity of work could be also found frequently in their work.


Why the issue is urgent to be resolved

The exploitation of international students in their work, which is a common issue in Australia, should be paid more attention to by the government. Firstly, in Australia, international students play an important role in the labour market. According to Australian Bureau of Statistics (2011), there are almost 500000 international students in Australia and half of them have jobs. As The Age (2015) states, they comprise almost 2 percent of the Australian workforce. Their rights should be protected. Secondly, as SBS (2014) reports, the education export industry in Australia generates $15 billion annually, which is an important part of Australian economy. However, the common workplace exploitation aims to international students is a threat to Australia’s international reputation, which may bring negative influences to its education export industry.


Commentary on the issue

There are four parts of my commentary.

Firstly, I will start my commentary by stories. By interviewing some international students who have abundant work experiences in Australia, I will show my audience the real working situation of the international students here: what kinds of jobs do they usually do? How much do they earn per hour? How many hours do they work every day? What kinds of exploitation do they often meet in their work? What did they do when they faced the exploitation?

Secondly, I will talk about why this issue is urgent to be resolved. As mentioned before, it has negative influences on both Australia’s labour market and education export industry.

Thirdly, I will discuss the reasons of why the workplace exploitation happens so frequently to the international students. The reasons are various, such as language problems, cultural differences and legal issues.

Finally, by interviewing the Redfern Legal Centre, I will try to find the possible solutions of the issue.


The interviewee of my commentary

Firstly, I will interview two international students who have abundant work experiences in Australia, from which I can understand more about the working situation of international students here.

Secondly, I try to interview the Redfern Legal Centre. It is a non-profit organization which aims to protect the rights of internationals students, especially in workplace exploitation area.


Target Publication

My target publication is the “National Column” of ABC news. As one of the most known online media in Australia, it is used to learn English by a large number of international students in Australia. Therefore, the commentary which is related to them has more potential audiences in this website. What is more, ABC news has a lot of audiences who are Australian. As an issue which is related to the employment and education export industry in Australia, it is likely that they will pay attention to.




Australian Government, (2016). Awards and agreements.



The Age, (2015). Australia grows richer by exploiting foreign students.

August 19, 2015



SBS, (2014). Concern over exploitation of international students at work.

21 June, 2014



Australian Bureau of Statistics, (2011). 4102.0 – Australian Social Trends, Dec 2011.

16 December, 2011



Yunlong Chen (450066878)