NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment Troy Grant today announced that StudyNSW, NSW Trade & Investment will grant funding for several projects developed by education institutions and key stakeholders for the benefit of international students in NSW.
As a key stakeholder, Redfern Legal Centre (RLC) has been awarded $27,500 for critical research into establishing a model for ongoing sustainable funding for the Centre’s award winning specialist International Student Advice Service.
“In 2011 RLC established a free state-wide legal service specifically for international students. RLC had identified a need for an advice service tailored to the complex legal issues and unique vulnerabilities that international students face, including language barriers, unfamiliarity with Australian laws and being away from their usual support networks.” RLC CEO Joanna Shulman said.
“Through ongoing legal advice and casework assistance, RLC works to identify systemic issues endangering the well being of international students.”
In particular, the exploitation of international students in the workplace is a growing concern. RLC has recently assisted a number of students working for a well-known restaurant that had severely underpaid the students, failed to provide meal breaks, and penalties for working late shifts, weekends and public holidays. RLC is working closely with the students to assist them in their ongoing negotiations with their employer.
The growing number of cases in this area highlights the need for continued community legal education and early intervention to curb the widespread systemic issue of exploitation of international students in employment.
RLC’s flagship service provides a one-stop shop approach to integrated specialist legal services to address commonly faced legal issues such as employment, tenancy, debt, discrimination, domestic violence and immigration. With pro bono support from Fragomen specialist migration law firm and access to free interpreters, RLC has been able to provide a unique and highly valued service for international students.