Backpacker has second year visa rejected because she was paid like a slave!
Earning slave wages is one thing, but to endure three months of it only to have your Second Working Holiday Maker Visa (subclass 417) rejected because of it is another. This is what happened to British backpacker, Laura Smith, 26, who worked for over 100 days in a Mildura (Victoria) orange packing orchard and factory in the hope of obtaining another year in Australia.
The qualified nurse branded the work as “slave labour” and claims she is being punished for being underpaid after receiving as little as $98 each week. Ms Smith said the Australian Government claims her salary was ‘too low’ to have completed the required days working in regional Australia to be granted a visa.
The work involved removing dead vines from an orange vineyards and then sorting the fruit into boxes. Ms Smith said she struggled to feed herself and pay for accommodation after earning around $2.50 an hour for six days per week.
But it gets worse. She then appealed the decision with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, but was rejected again, leaving her $1,600 out of pocket and being ordered to leave the country in just 28 days despite her former boss testifying in her favour.
Even her health suffered as she had to take anti-inflammatory tablets for sore wrists. “I would often doubt if I should continue, but my longer term goals of staying in Australia kept me there,” she told the Daily Mail. “I just begrudgingly accepted my pay packet each week”.
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal insisted it was ‘sympathetic’ to Smith’s situation but it could not accept her application. Ms Smith said: “It has been a waste of four months of my life. I’ve done this slave labour for nothing.
Since August 2015, all applicants seeking a Second Working Holiday Maker Visa have been required to provide payslips demonstrating their employment meets the minimum required remuneration rate (the national minimum wage is currently $17.29 per hour before tax).
Yes, it’s true Ms Smith should have done her homework, but the point is, it’s a sad state of affairs when backpackers will put up with slave wages, fear and mistreatment for over three months simply because they want to extend their stay in this country. And then to find out it was all in vain?! Its appalling.
Sourced by Alex Harmon
Source: Daily Mail Australia
Note: We contacted Ilario Cavallo from One Big Family Hostel where Laura Smith was staying but legally he was unable to comment at this point in time. He did mention that the Daily Mail missed many important details and facts in the article.