Australian Gov’t To Crackdown On Migrant Worker Exploitation

Australian Gov’t To Crackdown On Migrant Worker Exploitation

CANBERRA, Jun 5 (NNN-AAP) – Australian employers, who are caught exploiting migrants, could face criminal penalties under new federal laws. The government announced a crackdown today, to better protect temporary visa holders from exploitation.

According to a report, published by thinktank, the Grattan Institute, in May, one in six recent migrants to Australia is paid less than the minimum wage. Under the changes, which will be introduced to parliament within weeks, coercing someone into breaching their visa condition will be made a criminal offence.

Employers who are found to have exploited migrants, will be prohibited from further hiring workers on temporary visas. Minister for Immigration, Andrew Giles, described the current situation as a “crisis of exploitation.”

“When migrant workers are being underpaid – it hurts all of us, driving wages and conditions down for everyone,” he said in a statement. “These reforms will help workers speak up and target employers who do the wrong thing.”

A section of the Migration Act will also be scrapped to make it easier for visa holders to report exploitative behaviour.

The Australian Border Force (ABF) will receive an extra 50 million Australian dollars (32.9 million U.S. dollars), in funding for enforcement activities.

“Over the last 10 years, our migration system has drifted deeper and deeper into reliance on low-paid temporary migrant workers, who, we know are routinely exploited,” Home Affairs Minister, Clare O’Neil, said.

“We are in consultation on systemic changes to our migration system, which will ensure it works in the interests of Australian workers and businesses, and we are also doing the work necessary to ensure that no one who comes to this country is exploited or abused.”


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