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Indian students forced to share rooms with 10 over lack of housing in Melbourne

By Samyuktha

Melbourne, July 19(ANI): Costly and lack of housing options in Melbourne is forcing international students, including Indians, to share rooms with as many as nine others.

The Victorian Tenants Union said that rent for a shared bed in Melbourne could cost about 100 dollars a week.

Toby Archer, Tenants Union spokesman, said that they have even received reports where 10 people shared a room with five beds.

"They were all students and they did shiftwork. So, they'd take it in turns to sleep. It was one of the more shocking things that we heard about," The Age quoted Archer, as saying.

Archer also said that despite an option, the students never make any official complaint about the issue.

"They're just worried that telling us will somehow threaten their home. So, it goes nowhere," he added.

According to Melbourne University professor Simon Marginson, who recently co-authored a book based on 200 interviews with students from 35 countries at 11 Australian universities, poor-quality housing is affecting international students' grades and compromising their safety.

"Many students live in multiple-student households in houses which are family-sized residences with three, four or five bedrooms and they're living often in numbers like 10, 15 or even 20," Professor Marginson said.

He also said that about one third of international students were from poor backgrounds and often worked above the 20-hour-a-week limit set by their student visas.

Victoria University's International Student Support spokesman Danielle Hartridge said that despite a massive increase in student housing built by private companies over the past 15 years, much of that housing was not affordable.

"That pushes them back out into the rental market and forces them to share with a number of people to keep those costs down," she said.

According to Australian government statistics, there were 462,266 full-fee international students in the country as of May 2010. (ANI)

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