An Indian woman has reported that she was forced to work without pay for months at an Indian restaurant. Even her 457 visa nomination was withdrawn after she refused to pay her employer $50,000.

With broken heart & shattered dreams, an Indian woman and her family will have to leave Australia after her visa sponsorship failed, not once, but twice.

Inderjit Kaur Dhami was staying in Australia since 2009 with her two sons that were also born in Australia. Dhami’s visa runs out next week. So, she says she’ll go back to her home country- India if she doesn’t find an employer who is willing to sponsor her work visa.

Currently on a student visa, just over a month after the 457 visas were issued, her employer withdrew his nomination. Ms. Dhami stated that her employer demanded money in exchange for visa sponsorship.

“He said if I wanted to stay in Australia, I would have to pay $50,000,” says Ms. Dhami.

She claims her employer made her work without any pay

She was sponsored at an Indian restaurant in regional Victoria to work as a cook in August 2017. She worked there without any pay after lodging the visa application. Ms. Dhami says the employer met her and her husband and allegedly demanded money after she received her visa in March 2018.

she told SBS Punjabi “After we refused to pay up, he said withdrew the sponsorship and made up an excuse of my performance,”.

Ms. Dhami was working with the employer for unpaid wages between August 2017 and March 2018 before she was granted a 457 visa. But the employer claims a false statement that she worked voluntarily during this period in order to “learn the duties for which she would have been responsible when the visa was granted”.  Employer even stated that he never asked for money in exchange for money in exchange for visa sponsorship. Moreover, the employer said the reason behind the withdrawing sponsorship was her inefficiency in working. The employer stated that Ms. Dhami “couldn’t work at her rostered hours due to her family commitments”.

But, Ms. Dhami overruled by saying,” it’s a concocted story that the employer had come up with after receiving the legal notice from her lawyer”. “I worked for him nearly seven months, there was no performance issue then. Even after the visa came, I worked my rostered hours for two weeks until fired me,” she says.

The fear of uncertain visa status restrains her from complaining to the immigration department.

“I am feeling so helpless with these employers wielding so much power over our lives. I wish the Government does something to stop this exploitation of people like us who are like a mere fodder for these businesses, meant to be used and discarded.”

Accepting or paying money for visa sponsorships is illegal according to the Department of Home Affairs. Such employers or middlemen asking for money in exchange for visa sponsorship will have to face civil and criminal action.