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Byron Shire
May 29, 2024

Abuse revealed in almost third of migrant visas

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National secretary of the Transport Workers’ Union, Tony Sheldon. Photo from TWU Facebook page.
National secretary of the Transport Workers’ Union, Tony Sheldon. Photo from TWU Facebook page.

Problems have been highlighted in over 30 per cent of migrant worker visas recently monitored by the Fair Work Ombudsman, new figures show.

Almost one in five migrant workers on 457 visas were not being paid the correct salary or were not working in the job they were brought in to do.

In a further ten per cent of cases the ombudsman was unable to locate the employers which brought in the worker and in two per cent of cases the employer failed to provide information to the ombudsman.

National secretary of the Transport Workers’ Union, Tony Sheldon, said mandatory training and access to trade union representatives were vital to ensure foreign workers knew their rights and could have their concerns addressed, he added.

‘What is going on is WorkChoices by stealth bomber,’ Mr Sheldon said.

‘The government is bringing in hundreds of thousands of migrant workers to be exploited while our unemployment rises and wages and conditions here are driven down.

‘Our political representatives should be fighting for better living standards for all instead of pitting workers against each other through exploitation.’

Figures released to the Transport Workers’ Union under FOI for the period October 2014 to January 2015 show out of 560 cases examined, the Fair Work Ombudsman had concerns over the salary or position of 95 workers.

One case involved an architectural draftsperson brought in who was supposed to receive $85,000 but on inspection was receiving $49,000. Another involved a machine setter who was supposed to be paid $52,000 but was paid $36,000.


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