Australian Greens' Additional
Australian Greens consider that the issues raised in this inquiry are of great
significance to Australian society and economy. The Inquiry has uncovered
disturbing evidence of the level of exploitation of temporary work visa
holders, and the impacts that this has on other workers in Australia.
believe the committee report is an extremely thorough assessment of the issues
raised through the Inquiry process.
evidence and case studies that the Inquiry heard included the exploitation of
workers employed by 7-Eleven, Baiada, and of workers employed in the
construction, engineering, nursing, maritime and aviation industries. These
case studies were extremely disturbing and taken together showed the level of
exploitation that occurs across Australian workplaces.
exploitation across these fields included:
and/or non-payment of entitlements;
requests of workers by employers;
in contravention of visa conditions; and
of workers by employers.
concur with the concluding remarks of the inquiry that unless the suite of
measures outlined in this report is implemented, the unfettered exploitation of
temporary visa workers will continue. This will have serious consequences for
the temporary visa workers themselves, and will place further downward pressure
on the wages and conditions of local workers.
We consider that the recommendations
related to the following issues are of considerable importance:
need for quality accessible data on employment and visa issues;
establishment of a Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration which is
independent from government; genuinely tripartite; evidence-based; and
transparent and publicly accountable;
ability to address exploitation of workers on temporary visas across a very
wide range of industries, including retail, nursing, maritime industries,
meatworking, engineering, and aviation;
powers and resources of the Fair Work Ombudsman to investigate and prosecute
breaches of employment legislation; and
Overall we support the recommendations in the
committee report, with minor additions and changes.
Replace Recommendation 2 with:
recommends that the Department of Immigration and Border Protection give
greater weight to time spent living in Australia in consideration of
applications for permanent residency. The Department should conduct a review to
consider the evidence in this regard and consider the merits of setting a limit
on the period of time after which it would be considered reasonable for a
temporary visa holder to qualify for permanent residency.
Add Recommendation 9a:
the reconstituted MACSM advise on labour market testing mechanisms to
strengthen their efficacy and ensure that local workers still get the first
opportunity to apply for jobs and that 457 visa holders are only employed in
occupations subject to genuine skills shortages.
Replace Recommendation 10 with:
committee recommends that the reconstituted MACSM review the Working Holiday
Maker (417 and 462) visa program. The review should include, but not be limited
to, an examination of the costs and benefits of the continued operation of the
optional second year extension to the visa, the costs and benefits of providing
government with the ability to set a cap on the numbers of Working Holiday
Maker program visas issued in any given year and whether volunteer work should
contribute to eligibility for a second year visa.
Replace Recommendation 19 with:
committee recommends that the immigration program be amended to provide
adequate bridging arrangements for all temporary visa holders to pursue
meritorious claims under workplace and occupational health and safety
Replace Recommendation 27 with:
committee recommends that tertiary institutions with students studying on
temporary visas develop proactive information campaigns for temporary visa
workers around workplace rights.
Senator Janet Rice
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