Working rights

Sunil arrived in Australia on a Training visa. He came to Australia to follow his lifelong passion to be a chef and to learn about the culinary diversity of Australia. He started working at a hotel as part of his training and felt warm and welcomed by his colleagues. However, when he received his first pay cheque, he realised that substantial deductions were being taken from his pay which he never agreed to. The deductions were for accommodation in a tiny room in the Hotel with a shared bathroom; meals, which included leftovers from the hotel’s breakfast buffet (if there were any) and a lunch and dinner he or his colleagues would make themselves.

After lodging a complaint about his treatment, he was terminated from his traineeship, evicted from of his accommodation, and forced to live in a hostel. His employer also reported him to the Department who wrote to him about cancelling his Training visa. Sunil then applied for a Student visa in an attempt to continue his culinary training in Australia. That Student Visa was refused by the Department as they did not believe he was a “genuine” student given the pending cancellation of his Training visa and told him that “if he was serious about becoming a chef, he would have stayed with his employer on his Training visa”. The Department also called all of his allegations regarding his former employer “hearsay” and refused to give them any weight.

Sunil’s union then referred the matter to IARC through Visa Assist. IARC assisted Sunil appeal the decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and provided submissions on his behalf. IARC attended Sunil’s tribunal hearing and made oral submissions on the day. The Tribunal was so persuaded by Sunil’s evidence and IARC’s submissions that the Tribunal remitted the matter on the same day, finding that Sunil is a “genuine student”. Sunil continues to study cookery in Australia and still dreams of being a chef and running his own restaurant one day.