Dear Migrant Workers

A few years ago, I left Malaysia for the first time to embark on a study abroad journey in Australia. It was the first time I left home. I was excited in the beginning. The first few months were like a honeymoon. But the harsh reality kicked in after three months.

Like my peers, language and cultural barriers were key challenges. English isn’t my first language. But I knew that in order to achieve success as an international student in Australia, my main goal was to improve my English.

I then got involved in a campus student association to maximize my opportunities to enhance my communication skills and English language competency. As a result, I was invited to a forum to inaugurate the National Peak student representative organization to advocate for the needs of all international students in Australia. I was then elected as National Secretary and subsequently National President a few years later.

 
 

In this role, I have been able to witness how international students were being exploited in workplaces such as restaurants, retailers, cleaning companies and many other industry where international students tend to work part-time in.

 
 

This includes underpayment, workplace harassment, discrimination, bullying and other form of exploitation which are all considered against the Fair Work regulation in Australia.

The good news is there were a few who are willing to stand up and speak up against the wrong behaviours of those unscrupulous employers. In two recent cases, exploited students took action and eventually won the cases against their employers and received compensation.

Ever since then, I have learned something — Never Try, Never Know. Always stand up for your rights as no one else will. If no actions are taken, there will be no results. Just take the above cases as examples. I am very proud of the students.

James

This letter was written by a member of ASEAN Youth Organization

Connect With Us

Popular Posts

From Trafficking Victim to Activist

From Victim to Activist: A Trafficked Fisherman Speaks Out

  Rizky Oktaviana spent months stuck at sea, a victim of forced labour on a fishing vessel thousands of miles from his home. Now he’s speaking out about his story and leading activism to reform the fishing industry in Indonesia as the Advocacy Coordinator of Serikat Buruh Migran Indonesia (SBMI). We sat down with him … Continue reading “From Victim to Activist: A Trafficked Fisherman Speaks Out”

SG screenshot

Domestic Worker Rights: Gauging the Impact of Open Doors

  Hiring a live-in domestic worker in Southeast Asia is not uncommon among middle and upper income families. These domestic workers are often migrants from other countries. Unfortunately, domestic workers – and especially those living with families – can face abuses such as no weekly day off, having to be on call 24 hours a … Continue reading “Domestic Worker Rights: Gauging the Impact of Open Doors”

FINAL JUDY

Ask Judy: Advice from a Migrant Worker in Hong Kong

Baca dalam Bahasa Indonesia: klik di sini. What do migrant workers in Hong Kong want? What do they need? What advice would they give to aspirant migrants? To find out the answers to these questions, we interviewed Sri Martuti (who goes by Judy), an Indonesian domestic worker in Hong Kong.   Where are you from? … Continue reading “Ask Judy: Advice from a Migrant Worker in Hong Kong”

IOM X Blog

Sign Up For The IOM X Newsletter