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2 Oct 2015

Adele Ferguson and Sarah Danckert, Sydney Morning Herald

Australia: 7-Eleven workers pay up to $70,000 for visa in indentured labour scheme

Franchisees at the troubled 7-Eleven chain are charging staff up to $70,000 to help secure Australian work visas for their staff as a sideline revenue stream to help plump up low income from their stores. Fairfax Media has uncovered evidence that some franchisees are running as one-stop recruitment shops providing a steady stream of heavily indentured students and other workers into 7-Eleven stores. ... 7-Eleven has been in damage control since a joint investigation by Fairfax Media and Four Corners revealed widespread wage exploitation of staff across its franchise network of 620 stores. Senior executives from the company as well as 7-Eleven workers who have been victims of wage fraud will appear at a Senate hearing in Melbourne on Thursday. Under the scam, some student visa-holders are even enrolled in courses at colleges linked to 7-Eleven franchisees. ...  When asked whether 7-Eleven head office was concerned about the alleged visa scams, a spokeswoman for the company said: "If that was the case we would be horrified and we would do anything in our power to stamp it out, reporting any instance to the Department of Immigration."