RLC in the Media: My Legal Mate on ABC Breakfast

RLC solicitor Sean Stimson talks with Josh Szeps on ABC Breakfast about RLC's statewide legal service for international students and the development of a new moble app to assist international students with legal problems.

There are over 260,000 international students studying in NSW, and over 50% will experience some kind of legal issue during the course of their studies.

RLC's international student solicitor Sean Stimson explains that although international students have exactly the same working rights as their domestic counterparts, they are disproportionately vulnerable to exploitation in a range of key areas, including employment and accommodation. 

"Every international student has to have a visa. That is at the centre of the problems we see," Sean Stimson said.

"Unscrupulous employers, landlords, whoever that may be, will use that as a bit of a leverage point to try to dissuade students from pursuing a legal remedy which is available to them. I think it's really important that [students] know that a remedy is there."

My Legal Mate will educate students about legal remedies in four key areas. The interactive video app will be offered to education providers on an annual subscription basis, enabling students to gain access to the legal information and support free-of-charge. 

By downloading the app on enrolment, Stimson explains that international students can learn about their legal rights before commencing their studies, with the ultimate aim of preventing issues while they are in Australia.

Stimson says RLC has already received strong interest from education providers about the app. From a commercial standpoint, he says the app could help reduce the 6% drop-out rate of students studying in New South Wales. He also said that education providers simply "want to do the right thing," recognising the strong moral imperative they have to support students with legal and wellbeing issues. 

"We have certainly had really strong engagement from universities and colleges. I think that they can certainly see the benefit."

Listen to the audio here (interview starts at 3 hrs 25 mins)

For inquiries about My Legal Mate, contact mylegalmate@rlc.org.au