BSCAA launches online petition to extend student visa working hours
BSCAA calls on government to extend working hours for international students in the cleaning industry.
The Building Service Contractors Association of Australia (BSCAA) has launched an online petition, calling for an extension of working hours for international students in the cleaning industry.
The launch of the online campaign follows the Federal Government’s announcement it will remove existing work hour caps for student visa holders employed in hospitality, aged care, tourism, and for NDIS providers. A 40-hour fortnightly limit previously applied during study periods.
Student visa holders comprise a large part of the cleaning industry workforce, however, it is understood workers are now walking away from cleaning employment, where they are regulated to only 20 hours per week, in favour of working in tourism and hospitality.
The cleaning industry in Australia is one of the largest employers of students, who make up at least 30 per cent of workers – even higher in regional areas. It comprises more than 32,000 businesses who employs more than 150,000 people.
The BSCAA is urging workers in the cleaning industry to sign the petition to extend hours to be the same as the tourism and hospitality sectors in order to retain staff.
“The visa extension being only in the hospitality and tourism has an effect on our industry as international students are leaving employment in the cleaning industry to seek work that offers the ability to earn more income with more hours,” the BSCAA stated.
“The cleaning industry will be dramatically affected by a shortage of people to perform cleaning services. If we don’t address this issue now, it will become a major problem that will impact businesses and the community.”
According to the industry body, the pool of eligible international students has also reduced dramatically due to the reduction of international students entering Australia for study purposes.
“International students were among the worst affected financially at the start of the pandemic, extended working hours will assist them to support themselves and their families in a more secure industry,” the campaign states.
“By increasing the hours of international students in the cleaning industry, it enables the cleaning industry to continue their valuable service to the community and the public sector by maintaining a COVID safe environment.”