Downtrodden Down Under

It may be on the entire other side of the world, but Australia (together with, of course, New Zealand) is popular among traveling European youth taking that “gap year” before university – or, more likely these days, spinning their wheels in a very bad job market and so willing to beg, borrow and/or steal the considerable sum for a round-trip ticket to Oz, to at least alleviate the boredom and frustration by traveling in a fascinatingly unfamiliar land.

Recent news indicates that might not be such a good idea any more.

“Foreign workers exploited in Australia.” Many in that last (unemployed) group understandably want, and need, to find paying employment once they arrive there to offset costs, and the Australian government does meet them more than half-way with a liberal work-visa. But it doesn’t necessarily do so with the best interests of those visitors always in mind. The lede:

It is popular among European youth to travel and and work a number of months in Australia. That is also allowed by a work-visa, but from an Australian documentary to be broadcast Monday [today; Australian time is ahead, so this has already happened] it turns out that these foreign workers are regularly exploited.

Well, they’re a vulnerable population, aren’t they? Strangers in a strange land; and the quote says “European” youth, so for many the level of English used to understand and be understood may not be too high – not that the accent or vocabulary of the Australians necessarily makes it easy to understand them even for those who master the Queen’s own English!

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