Indian hotel management graduate at risk of deportation after filing complaint against employer in Australia
An Indian student who was doing his internship at a leading hotel chain in Australia is considering deportation over alleged charges against his fixed salary and his employer told him to pay higher rent, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. Reports in the newspaper revealed allegations of ill-treatment of hotel workers, usually from South Asia, employed through the Australian internship program.
With a bachelor’s degree in hotel management from India, 23-year-old intern named Narendra Shetty was recruited by Australian Internships into the Escarpment hotel group under a 52-week training contract in the Blue Mountains . Shetty was in Australia on a 407 visa which allows migrants to work for an Australian employer with on-the-job training.
It is also called a training visa. He reportedly paid over $ 6,500 for the internship program and his training contract, including an annual salary of $ 49,943. It also included full board, a twin room with three meals a day.
However, for Shetty, things were not what they seemed. He had to shell out $ 480 each week for a shared room and food at the Hydro Majestic hotel in Medlow Bath. The rent is almost $ 60, which is more than the market rent for an entire house in the Blue Mountains. When Shetty refused to pay, she was told to leave the property.
When he lodged his complaint with Australian Internships, they reportedly replied that “the time here in Australia is spent on training. We should not focus on compensation. However, Narendra Shetty was eventually invited to work at the Lilianfels Hotel in Katoomba where he paid his employer $ 250 per week as rent which did not include meals.
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He was then told to sign another document to work for a flat annual salary which he declined because the offer did not include paid overtime.
Escarpment Group fired Shetty on March 13, citing “poor job performance.” Shetty then applied for a student visa and enrolled in a cooking class in Sydney, which was rejected last week. And now Shetty’s training visa is in the doldrums with Australia’s Home Office considering canceling his 407 internship visa, with the risk of deportation staring it in the face.
Shetty provided no “concrete evidence and no hearsay” to counter the allegations, the department reportedly said.
Seeing the state of play, the Sydney Morning Herald further pointed out that Shetty was not the only case, as several other migrants complained against the Escarpment Group. Another migrant worker named Arindam Biswas, who worked as an office worker for the group, was in a similar situation when he was asked to pay above market rent.
He too was fired when he lodged a complaint with Australian Internships about the alleged ill-treatment.
With more and more cases, Australia’s Home Office and Fair Labor Ombudsman are investigating the Escarpment Group for underpaying and mistreating its employees or interns, including those holding 407 visas in the country.
Allan Fels, who heads the Australian government’s migrant workers task force, has warned such cases are damaging the country’s reputation in South Asia.
Meanwhile, the Indian Consulate in Australia has also taken note. A spokesperson for the Indian Consulate General in Sydney reportedly said the mission was concerned about the mistreatment of Indian workers.