Social media pitch to international students

19 May 2015

The Fair Work Ombudsman hopes to alert up to 100,000 international students to their workplace rights through a targeted social media campaign.                      

The Agency is disseminating social media messages in six languages, giving tips and advice to students taking part-time jobs while studying in Australia.

The messages have been translated into Chinese, Indian (Hindi), Korean, Vietnamese, Portuguese (Brazilian) and Thai and are being broadcast on Facebook.

Messages are also going out via Twitter.

There are almost 340,000 international students studying in Australia – more than 76,000 from China and 40,000-plus from India.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says 150 international students have contacted the Agency for help in the first nine months of this financial year.

Ms James says international students can be vulnerable, and it is important to raise awareness among the cohort of minimum lawful entitlements.

In 2012, the Fair Work Ombudsman set up a specialist Overseas Workers’ Team to assist foreign employees, including international students.

Recently, it has also appointed dedicated community engagement officers to work with international student bodies and education providers.

“The reality is that most international students need to work to support themselves while studying, and the best defence against being underpaid or treated unfairly is to know your rights,” Ms James said.

Community engagement officers will be delivering presentations, workshops and taking part in discussion groups with international student associations, universities, TAFE colleges and private education providers.

“Through this process we will gain a better understanding of the needs of the international student community and can then tailor our resources and programs accordingly,” Ms James says.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is already active in industries known to employ significant numbers of international students, including hospitality, cleaning, convenience stores and trolley collecting.

“We are keen to ensure that all those who work in Australia are treated with dignity and respect and accorded the same rights as local workers,” Ms James said.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has information to assist international students understand their rights at

Materials are translated into 27 different languages and videos in 14 different languages are available on YouTube.

A free interpreter service is available by calling 13 14 50.

Follow Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James on Twitter @NatJamesFWO external-icon.png, the Fair Work Ombudsman @fairwork_gov_au External link icon or find us on Facebook External link icon.

Sign up to receive the Fair Work Ombudsman’s media releases direct to your email inbox at

Media inquiries:

Nicci de Ryk, Senior Media Adviser
Mobile: 0466 522 004

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