- What We Do
The International Students Employment and Accomodation Legal Service (ISEALS) is a collaboration between community legal centres JobWatch, WEstjustice and South-East Monash Legal Service, facilitated by Study Melbourne and administered by Victoria Legal Aid.
ISEALS provides free, confidential and independent legal assistance including legal information, advice, representation and complex case work for international students experiencing or at risk of exploitation or discrimination in their workplace or through their accommodation.
Will found a job assembling beds and cleaning residential apartments. He was told to issue invoices for the hours he worked, despite the fact that he did not believe he was running his own business and his work was very much controlled by the employer. He provided invoices but was never paid for his work. We advised him in relation to sham contracting and underpayment of wages. He told his co-workers about ISEALS and we represented nine international students in matters against the same employer to get their wages paid.
Varuni has a casual, cash in hand job as a waitress. This is her first job in Australia and she has limited English. She first did one day of unpaid training and then she was told she would be paid $15 per hour. Varuni is very upset about how badly the owner treats her and the other staff. He constantly screams at her which makes her very scared. She has tried calmly telling the owner that he should treat her with some respect but he has responded “if you don’t like it, leave.” We advised Varuni about her different options in this situation, and we supported her to write a letter of demand for the outstanding wages.
Antonio works as a delivery driver for a take away restaurant. He is paid cash in hand and is told to drive the owner’s car when making the deliveries. He has a car accident while he is on duty and the employer is refusing to pay for the repairs to the other car. The other driver’s insurer – who knows nothing about the fact that Antonio was performing his employment duties when he had the car accident – has written to Antonio directly requesting immediate payment of more than $10,000 for the costs of the repairs. Antonio is distressed as he cannot afford to pay the insurer. We wrote to both the insurer and to Antonio’s employer asking for the employer to pay for the repairs to the other vehicle, and the matter is resolved.
Hong works in the manufacturing sector, doing almost 60 hours per week. On the occasions that he has received pay slips, they have shown that he was working 40 hours per fortnight. The employer stopped paying him his wages a few weeks ago and Hong sent several text messages chasing up his money. In the last conversation that Hong had with his boss, he said that he had found out from the Fair Work Ombudsman that he was being underpaid and then his boss told him not to come back to work. We helped Hong to file a General Protections Dispute – Termination claim with the Fair Work Commission, and we then represent Hong in a conciliation conference and the parties reach a settlement agreement.