Hi everyone, we are a group 8 backpackers with Australian Working Holiday Visas and have been working and living in Pemberton Western Australia. This was to get our 88 days specified work in a regional area for our 2nd year visa.
Through the backpackers hostel in Pemberton we got a job at a tomato farm -Allstates in Manjimup-. We worked there for about 3 months and below is the story of how we fared.
We tried to contact the farmer -Paul Da Silva- several times. Also the hostel owner -Troy Della Franca- tried to contact him about the missing payments. Most of the times we got no answers or sometimes we got promises that he never kept.
He is very good at making excuses: holidays, weekend, different banks, wrong people got paid, the accountant was sick…
I have a lot of text messages like this but we have been waiting for more then 3 months now to receive our pay.
In the end, we don’t know who to believe: the farmer or the hostel owner. Basically the farmer says he paid all the money to the hostel owner and the hostel owner says he did not receive the missing money. We are pretty sure we won’t see our missing money, so we would like to warn other backpackers for this scam.
Who To Believe?
We also got treated in an unfair way. Two weeks in a row the farmer let us on sunday evening know that we did not have to come to work that week: the tomatoes where still too green.
For the third week we tried to call him, to avoid the same situation. He never answered or replied. We asked the hostel manager to contact the farmer. He answered that all the plants died because of to much sun. Later he texted us they all died because of a hail storm. Then we met the Malaysians on a Holiday Visa that work illegal on the farm and they had been picking for the last 3 weeks, 11 people, full time, 20 bins of tomatoes a day, no problems.
No Money, No 88 days Proof
All this time we did not get a new job by the working hostel, because it was so last minute and technically we still had a job. We were short changed by these late cancellations as well as the missing payments. On top of that we can’t prove the days we did regional work and did not get paid by a payslip towards or 2nd year visa.
At the moment we are in contact with Fair Work Australia and will update you on any progress.