If you love to earn RM39 (AU$13) per hour of manual work, you are in luck. There are a lot of these jobs in Australia. According to an article in TMI, there are local agents helping Malaysians to work as farm workers in Australia. These are temporary work as fruit pickers and sorters. One such agent based in Shah Alam was quoted as saying that, “In a month, between 10 and 20 people would go to Australia to work as farm workers.” Here’s the sweet part, anyone working in such jobscan be looking at an average of between RM6,000 and RM12,000 depending on how hard one works.
I just learnt that a distant relative is in Australia now doing some manual work as well and does not wish to come home yet. She wants to earn as much as possible first. I am not sure if she is now there legally or has overstayed her visa. Another ex-colleague worked as waitress there and was telling me how excited she was because she could earn money and slim down at the same time due to the hectic working schedule. She is now back to Malaysia for personal reasons. Another close friend worked in New Zealand before for a few months and told me that life’s tough but the vacation after that was well worth it. Perhaps all three are right, earning at a place where the currency is much higher would mean much faster ‘returns on time invested.’
These “working holidays” are popular and has been around for some time but was recently in the media spotlight because of an ongoing inquiry into illegal labour on Australian farms using foreign travellers as labourers. According to the inquiry held in Victoria, there are labour companies which are openly advertising for illegal and underpaid workers at farms and factories in the Australian state. A Malaysian Aira Firdaus testified as a witness for the National Union of Workers and explained the tough conditions, the reasons why people take-up such work etc. Currently, Australia’s minimum wage is AU$21. The ‘working tourists’ are paid much lower and are also charged housing and transport to the farm and back to their accommodation.
Honestly, if we are able to earn RM10,000 per month for just 6 months, it would have enabled us to earn something which majority of Malaysians would need 2 years to earn if they are earning RM2,500 per month. The more critical part is however, are we able to really resist the temptation to spend and thus diminish the returns and secondly, how to use the earnings to create a new source of income. Perhaps downpayment for a cheap secondary apartment for rental income? RM60,000 can definitely do more than that. I have always encouraged my friends who told me about earning in countries with stronger currencies. Sometimes, this is necessary. However, do not be like the majority where the more we earn, the more we spend. In the end, we have wasted time, effort and money. Happy working, saving and enjoying.
written on 4 Mar 2016
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