Redfern Legal Centre has announced the closure of its International Student’s legal advice service later this year following cuts to much needed funding.
The state-wide award winning service was launched back in 2011 after the centre identified a lack of advice available to the 40,000 international students in NSW, who generate approximately $6bn economic benefit in NSW.
CEO Jo Shulman announced yesterday that the service will finish up in September.
“International students are at heightened risk of exploitation due to a lack of knowledge about Australia’s laws and protections and an inability through their circumstances, such as financial or language barriers, to access help,” Shulman said.
“As a result, we see many international students preyed upon, such as being forced into unlawful employment practices, being paid well below the minimum wage or being forced to live in substandard and unsafe conditions.
“This is a service that advocates and educates. We’re really worried about what will happen when this service closes,” she added.]
The service provided free advise to students on employment, tenancy, domestic violence and in particular, assisted students with disputes with education providers placing visa status at risk.
“International students often don’t have the same ability to navigate Australia’s laws and don’t know what help is out there for them when they do get in trouble,” said Nicholas Ngai, an international students solicitor.