Albanese Government to tackle worker exploitation

The Albanese Government will protect workers at risk of exploitation with a package of measures that target employers who seek to exploit temporary visa holders and ensure workers can speak up without fear of reprisal.

One in six recent migrants to Australia is paid less than the minimum wage. This exploitation doesn’t just hurt the individual worker, but effectively drives down wages and worsens conditions for all Australian workers.

After a decade of neglect, the Albanese Government is cleaning up the mess of the former Liberal Government which failed to implement key recommendations in the Migrant Workers Taskforce Report.

Following eight months of consultation, the Albanese Government is today announcing a package of legislative powers, enforcement tools, additional funding and a new approach to help people in exploitative workplaces speak up.

The Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Andrew Giles, will introduce legislation into Parliament in the coming weeks that will penalise unscrupulous employers.

The new measures will:

  1. Make it a criminal offence to coerce someone into breaching their visa condition;
  2. Introduce prohibition notices to stop employers from further hiring people on temporary visas where they have exploited migrants;
  3. Increase penalties and new compliance tools to deter exploitation; and
  4. Repeal section 235 of the Migration Act which actively undermines people reporting exploitative behaviour.

The Government will also provide $50 million in funding to resource the Australian Border Force for this and other enforcement and compliance activities.

The Albanese Government is also committed to supporting those who are exploited to speak out. The Government will consult with businesses, unions and civil society on whistleblower protections for temporary visa holders and strengthening the firewall between the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Department of Home Affairs.

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