New task force sets out aims to reduce exploitation of overseas workers in Australia

by Ray Clancy on November 9, 2016

in Jobs in Australia

The new task force set up in Australia to take action to reduce the number of overseas workers who end up being exploited, including students, by unscrupulous workers has held it its first meeting.

It has agreed to a programme of action guaranteeing a more proactive approach, including better communication with visa holders, stronger enforcement and preventative policies.

Foreign Workers DuskThe taskforce, chaired by professor Allan Fels, aims to make a real difference to the lives of people who move to Australia and then find they are asked to work extra hours without extra pay or are not paid the minimum wage.

‘The Taskforce will identify further proposals for improvements in law, law enforcement and investigation, and other practical measures to more quickly identify and rectify any cases of migrant worker exploitation,’ said Fels.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash also confirmed that the Government will amend the Fair Work Act 2009 to further protect vulnerable workers by increasing penalties which will see the introduction of a new, serious contravention penalty for deliberate or systemic exploitation.

The amendment will also strengthening the evidence gathering powers of the Fair Work Ombudsman and expressly prohibiting providing false or misleading information to Fair Work inspectors.

The change will see new provisions to capture franchisors who fail to deal with exploitation by their franchisees and expressly prohibit behaviour in which an employer pays the correct wages to an employee but then forces them to repay an amount.

‘The taskforce will focus on action and results. Compliance or regulatory weaknesses that allow exploitation cases to occur will be a key focus. Exploitation of any worker in Australian workplaces will not be tolerated by this Government,’ said Cash.

‘Overseas workers are potentially more susceptible to exploitive practices, which is why we are introducing stronger measures to maintain the integrity of their working experience in Australia,’ she added.

The taskforce is due to meet over the next 18 months with its next meeting taking place in January 2017.

‘This is a pleasing first step in securing better, long term outcomes for migrant workers in our workplaces. I am confident that the taskforce will make a real difference to the lives of migrant workers as it actions its comprehensive work programme,’ added Cash.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: