Vietnamese students and migrants in Australia are being paid as little as $6 per hour in hospitality jobs, according to a special investigation by SBS Vietnamese.
The findings showed that many employers behind the exploitation were fellow Vietnamese migrants themselves.
SBS Vietnamese Radio’s investigative reporters posed as job seekers to ask business owners about wages across Melbourne’s Southeastern and Western suburbs.
Of the 20 restaurants spoken to, none offered over $10 an hour. SBS footage also showed many staff were being asked to work for a daily wage between $100 to $130 dollars, with some working continuously at up to 12 hours at a time.
The Australian minimum wage is $17.70. SBS learned that Vietnamese international students and migrants who come to work in exploitative businesses are often unaware of Australia’s minimum wage.
Others spoke to SBS about abusive employers, some of whom did not let workers take toilet breaks.
The President of the Footscray Asian Business Association, Wing La, told SBS that competition between small businesses was so great that business owners could not afford to pay the minimum wage.
Mr Meca Ho, a spokesperson of the Victoria Street Business Association in Richmond said Vietnamese food is often priced at a cheaper rate than other cuisines making it hard for businesses to survive.
He also added that students accepted low wages due to lower English proficiency and difficulty finding work in English speaking businesses.
– TiVi Tuan-san