New Research Highlights the Endemic Exploitation of Temporary Workers in Australia


New research from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) puts spotlight on the endemic exploitation of temporary workers who are mainly international students and backpackers.

The research reveals that the worst paid industry is vegetable and fruit picking and farm work, with 15% of research subjects earning $5 per hour and almost 31% earning $10 per hour or less. International students and backpackers are the most vulnerable, particularly those from Asian countries, the research has shown. Those from several Asian countries had the lowest wage rates overall compared with participants from major English-speaking countries that had the highest rates.

Interestingly, the research points out that the temporary workers find these job through a friend or family members. It is imperative for the government and all the stakeholders to raise awareness within migrant communities of fair work conditions and pay in Australia, cultivating a healthy environment with well-informed individuals and network which helps prevent exploitation from happening.  

Cultural Perspectives has been at the forefront of promoting fair work including our role in assisting the Fair Work Ombudsman to launch the Chinese Engagement Strategy which addresses workplace issues in January 2017.

To read the report, please go to