Broken migration system enables horrific exploitation and abuse of students

MEDIA RELEASE | 16 May 2023

Recent reporting of the contents of the government-commissioned Nixon report has identified that the migration system has enabled the abuse and exploitation of migrant workers and international students by criminal syndicates.

Democracy in Colour’s National Director Neha Madhok says, “We know the migration system is broken. Australia has failed to protect migrant workers and international students from abuse and exploitation.

“Exploitation and abuse at the hands of migration agents has only been possible because successive governments have failed to fix the broken migration system. Instead, governments chose to weaponise people seeking asylum to carve out any support for people on temporary visas and set up expensive offshore detention centres at the expense of people’s safety. 

“We’ve seen governments look at international students in dehumanised dollars. We know the contributions that migrant workers and international students make to our economy, but we have a duty to also ensure that while they live and work here, they are safe and free from abuse. Instead, in the search for ever-increasing profits in the multibillion-dollar overseas education sector, federal governments have turned a blind eye to the exploitation of students and workers. 

“International students and migrant workers who do everything right and make significant sacrifices to access the opportunities Australia has, should not have to fear abuse and exploitation.

“Over the past few years during the pandemic and recession, this country has relied on the skills, knowledge and labour of migrants. This population has kept our economy afloat, and contributed to the strong social diversity in our communities. 

“All migrants should be able to come to this country safely and be provided with the same protections that we all expect from our government. Anything less is an abhorrent failure.  

“The Albanese Government has recognised that the system is broken, but reform can’t tinker at the edges. We need a full-scale system reform that includes legislative levers to protect migrants from exploitation by migration agents,” says Neha Madhok.


MEDIA CONTACT: Neha Madhok 0452 509 873

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The Migration with Dignity campaign calls for clearer pathways to permanent migration, ending corporate ties to temporary migration sponsorship and allowing working migrants access to public services including Medicare. The full submission to the Department of Home Affairs’ review into the migration system is available on request.